Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment W. Jordan Gillis recognizes Fort Drum as the Army’s recipient of the 2020 Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence, via a virtual award presentation Sept. 14. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Pentagon official commends Fort Drum team for earning installation excellence award
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 14, 2020) – Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment W. Jordan Gillis recognized Fort Drum as the Army’s recipient of the 2020 Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence, via a virtual award presentation Sept. 14.
“You clearly distinguished yourselves and are deserving of this 2020 award for installation excellence,” he told the Fort Drum garrison team during the video-teleconference. “There are not a lot of other opportunities to recognize installation excellence, especially from the commander in chief. So that highlights the importance of your accomplishments and the importance of installations who provide the daily support that keeps the military trained, supplied, housed, healthy and ready.”
The award recognizes exceptional resource management and innovative efforts from the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations. Nominees were evaluated on criteria ranging from mission support and environmental stewardship to community relations and property asset management.
“That really speaks to the fact that it takes a team of professionals at the installation, working together, to accomplish all of the things that have to be delivered for warfighter readiness,” Gillis said.
Maj. Gen. Brian J. Mennes, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, joined the presentation remotely from Afghanistan to thank the garrison team for the support they provide Soldiers and families. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, New York’s 21st District representative, also applauded Fort Drum team members for their success.
“I’m so proud of Fort Drum continuing to lead the nation, and I want to congratulate the entire garrison team on this really amazing achievement,” she said. “When you think about it, every Army installation is eligible, and Fort Drum rated the top in the entire country.”
Stefanik said that Fort Drum has a critical role for national defense in its rapid deployment capabilities and sets the standard for energy sustainability.
“This enhances the 10th Mountain Division’s readiness, and Fort Drum has incredibly strong ties with our entire community,” she added.
Gillis spoke with the Fort Drum command team and directors about how the garrison team supports 10th Mountain Division (LI) readiness, quality of life initiatives and the installation’s integration with its neighboring communities.
Col. Jeffery Lucas, Fort Drum garrison commander, said that the division sustains a reputation as a “Ready Now” force, capable of deploying within 96 hours. He spoke about improvements to training on post, including the new Joint Threat Emitter systems for advanced aviation training and the Convoy Live Fire range.
“In addition to that, we’re really pleased that we are starting to implement our new railhead project,” Lucas said. “We were supported with a $21 million project to expand our railhead so we can get our forces deployed in that 96-hour window. With that, we have a $9.3 million project to keep our airfield ready, maintained and able to operate in all kinds of weather 24/7.”
Fort Drum also was recently named 2019 Best Garrison by U.S. Army Installation Management Command, among the posts under IMCOM Directorate-Readiness.
“Our community is great because of the people who live and work here,” Lucas said. “Our workforce is deeply committed to our No. 1 mission: deploying trained and ready Soldiers so they may achieve what the nation requires of them.”
Lucas said that in addition to providing stellar logistics, planning and training support, the workforce is dedicated to further developing a community where families can thrive.
“This workforce isn’t great because they strive for it as a benchmark,” he said. “They are great because they strive to do their best every single day and because they believe that the work they do makes a difference to the Soldiers and families they serve.”
The competition, which originated in 1985, is open to all Department of Defense installations. Each winning installation receives a congratulatory letter from the commander in chief, a crystal trophy and an installation excellence flag.