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KC-46 wins DoD Environmental Award

The KC-46A Pegasus performs its first-ever aerial refueling passing 1,600 pounds of fuel to an F-16 fighter Jan. 24.  (Boeing photo by Paul Weatherman)

The KC-46A Pegasus performs its first-ever aerial refueling passing 1,600 pounds of fuel to an F-16 fighter Jan. 24. The KC-46 Program Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health team was recognized by DoD for innovative and cost effective environmental practices. (Boeing photo by Paul Weatherman)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- The KC-46 Program Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (ESOH) Team was named winner of the Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition Award, Large Program category, by the Department of Defense, on April 22.   

The award, which is part of the 2016 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, recognized the cross-functional team's integration of cost-effective environment, safety, and occupational health measures into the KC-46's system design. 

"Our men and women work hard to keep environmental stewardship a priority while simultaneously advancing our national defense mission."  These efforts "foster a special type of innovation worthy of national recognition," stated Mr. Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

The awards recognize individuals, teams, and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices across nine categories.

"It's a tremendous honor to be recognized for this prestigious award, and I'm extremely proud of Col. John Newberry, our KC-46 Program Manager, and his KC-46 ESOH Team.  The KC-46 will be a revolutionary capability in the hands of the warfighter and this award recognizes the level of ingenuity and dedication within all the personnel that work the KC-46 program," said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers.      

The KC-46 Program Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health team includes Mr. Nick Shouse, Maj. Matt Obenchain, Senior Master Sergeant Brian Cantrell, Mr. Bill Hunt, Mr. Don Jackson, Dr. Kevin Kendig, Mr. John Stallings, Mr. Darren Veneman, and Mr. Luis Diaz-Rodriguez. 

The team was cited for a number of innovations, including the use of an Advance Performance Coating topcoat that reduces the number of times the aircraft will need to be repainted during its service life.  The use of APC polyurethane topcoats increases by two times the cycle between repaints compared with the standard polyurethane topcoat and reduces the discharge of volatile organic compounds.  This mitigation is estimated to save $44 million over the life cycle of the initial fleet of aircraft.

The award also recognized the KC-46 will be the first commercial airline and transport-based aircraft in the world to be delivered with an FAA-certified non-halon fire suppression system.  Production of halon has been prohibited by the Clean Air Act since 1993, but is still used in all commercial airline and transport aircraft.  The precedent-setting KC-46 halon replacement initiative gives industry and FAA valuable testing and certification experience that will support the gradual transition to non-halon systems for commercial aircraft in coming years.   

In FY 2015, DoD invested $3.8 billion for its environmental programs: $1.8 billion to cleanup contamination from past DoD activities; $1.3 billion to comply with environmental laws; $377 million to protect natural and cultural resources; and $184 million for research and development to reduce environmental impacts of DoD activities and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of environmental solutions. These investments help DoD to continue ensuring the protection of human health and the environment, and to sustain the resources required to support the readiness of our Nation's Armed Forces.

The eight other winners chosen from a total of 30 nominations are:

Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation: Camp Dawson Army Training Site, West Virginia Army National Guard - achieved key natural resources conservation goals through strategic local partnerships and efficient resource management.

Natural Resources Conservation, Individual/Team: Fort McCoy Natural Resources Branch, Wisconsin - demonstrated sound natural resources stewardship while supporting and sustaining a military training environment, biological diversity, and commercial and recreational opportunities.

Environmental Quality, Non-Industrial Installation: Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California - implemented a collaborative and innovative environmental management program to reduce water usage, minimize waste, and positively impact the community.

Environmental Quality, Individual/Team: Eglin Air Force Base Environmental Quality Team, Florida - demonstrated a holistic environmental management approach to exceed waste diversion and renewable energy goals, maintain compliance, and minimize impacts to the Mission.

Sustainability, Industrial Installation: Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island, Florida - displayed environmental leadership by exceeding DoD goals in energy intensity reduction, e-waste disposal, and high performance and sustainable buildings.

Environmental Restoration, Installation: Beale Air Force Base, California - used an objective-focused restoration approach and collaborative partnerships to protect human health and the environment, and make significant progress in cleaning up contamination from past defense activities.

Environmental Restoration, Individual/Team: Vieques Environmental Restoration Program Team, Puerto Rico - addressed unique restoration challenges through accelerated and innovative cleanup activities, groundbreaking technologies, and strategic partnerships.

Cultural Resources Management, Large Installation: White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico - collaborated with local stakeholders to ensure preservation of White Sands Missile Range cultural history and streamlined cultural resources management.

For more than 50 years, DoD has recognized the incredible work that the men and women within the Department do each day to protect the environment and our Nation's resources. Military Services and Defense Agencies submit nominations for each of the nine award categories. A diverse panel of judges representing federal and state agencies, academia, and the private sector select the winners.

For more information on the DoD Environmental Awards Program, please visit: www.denix.osd.mil/awards.