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Presidential Award Recognizes Best Installations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced the winners of the 2010 Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence.

The Army's Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Naval Base San Diego; Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; and Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna, Pa., will receive the award at a May 5 Pentagon ceremony, Defense officials said. The award, started by President Ronald Reagan, recognizes outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain the installations. Fort Bragg, under the command of Army Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, is receiving the award for keeping the Army's airborne and special operations forces more than 10 percent of the service mission ready, while also absorbing the first of nearly 10,000 additional soldiers who will be assigned to the base by 2013, officials said.

The post's leaders "employed creative solutions to address this growth head-on, focusing on sustainability and long-term viability" in new construction and transportation projects, officials said. They also expanded family satellite programs and offices in the local community to serve the 80 percent of families living off post while saving millions of dollars through strategic planning and new business processes.

Twentynine Palms, under the command of Brig. Gen. Herman S. Clardy III, was cited as the Marine Corps' premier live-fire and maneuver training center, providing training to more than 45,000 Marines and sailors who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009. Also, the combat center improved the quality of life for families even while dealing with funding and work force cutbacks, officials said.

Naval Base San Diego, commanded by Capt. Ricky L. Williamson, was named for using proactive and creative management practices to enhance readiness, business processes and quality of life last year. Base leaders synchronized initiatives to realize unity of effort, leveraged technology to improve communications and improved contract requirements for significant cost savings, officials said.

Elmendorf, under the command of Col. Thomas K. Bergeson, was recognized for being the first installation to implement a Veterans Affairs itemized billing process, serving as a model for others, while also executing the largest construction program in base history last year. Elmendorf's hospital was rated best in the Air Force for the second consecutive year, and it was named as having Pacific Air Forces' best environmental program, officials said. Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna, under the command of Navy Capt. J.G. King, was recognized for its service in providing commodities to all armed forces, federal agencies, and other defense depots in the eastern half of the United States, as well as Central and South America, Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia.

As the Defense Department's largest distribution center, the depot last year built more than 28,600 air pallets, filled more than 9,990 sea containers, loaded more than 6,300 trucks for delivery to more than 50 military installations, officials said. At the same time, the depot completed "massive re-warehousing" in preparation to receive material repositioned from the Base Realignment and Closure process, giving it stewardship of more than a million different stock items.

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