Twentynine Palms -- The Combat Center 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 ensuring access to secure, reliable energy and water.
For their efforts in sustainability, the Combat Center was awarded the Sustainability Award in the Non-Industrial Installation category of the 2015 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards. The Combat Center exceeded Department of Defense goals in energy reduction and water conservation and consistently applied renewable energy solutions with an innovative and collaborative sustainability program.
“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. “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 this recognition, the installation received the 2015 Sustainability, Non-Industrial Installation Award from both the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense, as well as the Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award for Natural Resource Conservation on Aug. 18, 2015. The installation also received the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Award in the United States Marine Corps Expeditionary category on Jan. 21, 2016, and the 2015 Secretary of Defense Sustainability Award in the non-industrial installation category on Oct. 1, 2015.
“We conduct a lot of training out here,” said Brian Henen, ecologist, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. “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 Combat Center is a tough environment for water and energy conservation,” McGinn said. “The installation’s mission, to be able to prepare Marine units to go forward in peace and in war, is absolutely critical. The fact that the team here at the Combat Center has been able to win these awards tells me a lot about the leadership, the hard work, and the team work that goes on here.”