MARINE CORS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, California -- Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California is the largest combined arms live-fire training facility in the Marine Corps. As such, they have the responsibility of ensuring Marines remain the nation's force in readiness while simultaneously preserving the ability to train, live and work on the land entrusted to them.
The installation has been recognized as a leader in environmental conservation for its ample network of programs and facilities designed to support the base's progressive conservation standards and long-standing reputation of being good stewards of the environment. The Secretary of the Navy awarded the Combat Center and members of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, for their efforts in environmental conservation in multiple categories for the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Awards. Additionally, the Secretary of Defense awarded the Combat Center for their environmental efforts as an installation in the 2016 Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards.
According to All Navy Message 013/16 the Combat Center earned the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award for environmental quality in the non-industrial installation category as well as cultural resources management in the large installation category. Additionally, Dr. Brian Henen, ecologist, NREA, was awarded for natural resources management and Chris Elliott, water resources manager, NREA, was awarded for environmental quality. With these achievements all winners were nominated for the 2016 Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards competition, in which the Combat Center achieved the award for environmental quality in the non-industrial installation category, in accordance with Marine Administrative Message 239/16.
"Our energy and water initiatives across the board are all about creating an even more effective combat force," said Dennis V. McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations & Environment. "We want to have better mission effectiveness, and operational efficiency. Because the Combat Center is the source of excellence for so many war fighting capabilities, they're setting the standard."
In addition to The Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, the Combat Center was the recipient of the Society of American Military Engineers 2015 Sustainability Award Towards Net Zero. This award is given for outstanding efforts to reduce energy use, water use and/or waste production in support of goals set by Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
"We conduct a lot of training out here," Henen said. "We have 40 to 50 thousand Marines here every year and that impacts the environment over time. Ultimately what we're trying to do is protect the environment in a way that not only meets the legal requirements for protecting resources but also allows the Marines to work in an environment that is sustained over time."
Divisions such as Exercise Support Division, NREA and Public Works Department are responsible in part for the installation's success in their conservation efforts. Due to the programs put in place by the installation and executed by each division, the base has not only met but exceeded expectations with regard to protecting the Combat Center's natural resources.
"The installation is proud to lead the way in protecting the environment while sustaining mission readiness and continues to demonstrate excellence in maintaining and restoring our natural and cultural resources for future generations," said Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, Combat Center Commanding General. "Our achievements in environmental stewardship are made possible by the efforts of every service member, civilian, and family member aboard the installation. We remain committed to providing the resources and expertise that allow the Combat Center to consider all aspects of the environment in the planning and implementation of service-level training, while fulfilling our duty as good stewards of the environment."