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Four Department of the Air Force Installations win 2023 SecDEF Environmental Awards

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Teams from Osan Air Base, South Korea, Kadena AB, Japan, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, won categories of the 2023 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, April 17.

Since 1962, installations across the Department of Defense have been recognized by these awards for their accomplishments in innovative and cost-effective environmental management that support mission readiness.

"Maintaining our Air and Space superiority remains contingent on the Department of the Air Force being good stewards of the environment," said Ravi Chaudhary, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment. "Doing so enables us to build and sustain the combat effectiveness our nation relies on. Congrats to our winners and thank you for leading the way."

The Department of the Air Force winners are:

2023 Environmental Quality, Overseas Installation: Osan AB

The base significantly reduced potential hazardous material and toxins by implementing processes that elevated the DoD’s 2020 air quality revisions that allowed the Air Quality Program manager to inventory and reconcile 300 regulated air emission sources. Osan AB also prioritized electrical and scrap metal recycling efforts, saving the Air Force more than $300,000 in disposal costs.

2023 Sustainability, Non-Industrial Installation: Kadena AB

The Kadena AB team contracted a private energy company, in collaboration with the Defense Logistics Agency, to boost the installation’s mission-critical energy resiliency, which is expected to generate more than $153 million in savings over the performance period. They also removed more than 20,000-pounds of ozone-depleting substances and diverted almost 10,000 tons of waste. The base also began stabilizing and restoring the dunes and shoreline of Bellows Beach from erosion through the removal of invasive species and the restoration of native plant assemblages, which is expected to be completed later this year.

2023 Cultural Resources Management, Individual/Team: Cultural Resources Office, Eglin AFB

The Cultural Resources Office established an agreement among Eglin AFB, the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regarding the management of historic properties on base. The base also developed several public outreach initiatives, like Archaeology Day, which allowed them to share base history with the community and create respect for and awareness of cultural resources.

They also funded several living shoreline projects covering 14,000 linear feet and 11 archeological sites. Additionally, the team worked to attain more than 95% positive reconciliation on historic resources, status codes and historical ages of facilities.

Lastly, the team rendered cultural review of 3,824 civil engineering actions over fiscal years 2021 and 2022, conducting 328 acres of in-house archaeological survey, bypassing approximately $5 million and 18 months in costs and contracting efforts.

Sustainability, Individual/Team: 366th Environmental Management Team, Mountain Home AFB

Mountain Home AFB overcame immediate water challenges through base wastewater reuse program, saving 178 million gallons of water. The team also fostered partnerships and ensured base short-term energy resilience while seeking a long-term $25 million geothermal project.

They also utilized best-management practices, diverting 32,000 tons of solid waste resulting in a decrease of $1.1 million in management and disposal fees. Additionally, the team resolved base Fire Training Complex perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance containing soil issues, saving $900,000 in disposal costs.

Lastly, they reduced wildfire fuel-loads by 20% by restoring critical faunal habitat through collaborative partnerships, saving $135,000 in contractor costs.