YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - For the third year running, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan made the finals in the esteemed Army Communities of Excellence competition.

Installation Management Command officials announced the selection of eight finalists Army-wide Saturday, which are set to receive a site visit in October or November.

"This is unprecedented," said Garrison Commander Col. Dave Hall. "It's truly an honor to be part of a community that always strives to be the best."

Army communities learned the news through an e-mail, which arrived over the weekend. "On behalf of Brig. Gen. Aycock and Mr. Nerger, please extend our congratulations to Garrison Commanders whose installations are finalists in the FY10 ACOE Competition," wrote Kathleen K.W. Ashing, IMCOM Business Transformation and Innovation chief. Aycock is the IMCOM Deputy Commanding General and Nerger is the command's senior civilian leader.

Two of the eight finalists are from Korea: USAG-Yongsan and Daegu. Also competing are USAG Fort Bragg, USAG Fort Campbell, USAG Fort Hood, USAG Fort Meade, USAG Fort Leavenworth, and USAG Schinnen.

The Army panel selecting the finalists consisted of five senior Baldridge examiners and judges from across private, non-profit and government organizations. Malcom Baldridge is the corporate gold standard for recognizing organizational excellence. Judges use a set criteria to evaluate what processes are in place to better serve stakeholders and gain efficiencies. The ACOE Team will conduct a one-week site visit for Gold, Silver and Bronze Award nominees, officials said.

Hall credits the USAG-Yongsan staff for its hard work. "It's tough to get to the top; it's tougher to stay there," he said. "This is the third consecutive year we've reached this level. I am very proud."

This is the second year in a row that USAG-Daegu made the ACOE finals. Installation Management Command-Korea Region Commanding General Brig. Gen. John Uberti sent out personal congratulations to the garrison commanders. To USAG-Yongsan he wrote, "I'm proud of you and your entire team, it's quite an accomplishment over the past three years."

In 2008, USAG-Yongsan won $750,000 as the ACOE Third Place Winner. The victory dollars went to fund quality of life improvements across the garrison, like the new family park now under construction on X Corps Blvd.

In 2009, USAG-Yongsan competed as a finalist, but came in 7th place.

Hall said the Army selected two USAG-Yongsan staffers to be on site teams for next phase, Jim North and Jeff Mones. North will lead an ACOE team.

The fiscal 2010 contest will award $1 million for the winner of the gold. There will be two silver awardees vying for $500,000 each. Three Bronze awardees will earn $250,000 each.

The 2010 ACOE contest will also offer cash prizes to three to six "most improved" garrisons. Competition in this category is between: USAG Aberdeen Proving Ground, USAG Fort Leonard Wood, - USAG Adelphi, USAG Fort Polk, USAG Fort Carson, USAG Presidio of Monterey, USAG Fort Detrick, USAG Redstone Arsenal, USAG Detroit Arsenal, USAG Fort Richardson, USAG Fort Drum, USAG Rock Island Arsenal, USAG Japan and USAG Fort Rucker.

"This is all about the Army Family Covenant," Hall said. "We are truly committed to providing our Families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive. We continue to listen to feedback and strive to be the best Army home possible."

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