Germany-based battalion among finalists for installation awards
ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Army 10th Area Support Group from Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan, was the only overseas installation to garner top honors Friday during a Pentagon ceremony announcing the service winners of the Chief Annual Award for Installation Excellence.
Torii Station was the Army’s choice for the single best installation worldwide for the 2003 contest, which was established by President Reagan in 1985. Each service has its own competition for best installation, as well as the Defense Logistics Agency.
Col. Gary Longhany, the 10th ASG commander, will take home a silver trophy, an Center of Excellence flag, and most important of all, an extra $3 million to spend on quality of life improvements in 2004.
Another overseas installation, the 409th Base Support Battalion, Vilseck and Grafenwöhr, Germany, was among the Army’s finalists for the award. The 409th received a silver trophy, an Army Excellence flag and $500,000 to spend next year.
After the ceremony, Kenneth Spink, Torii’s garrison manager, said that Torii staff “is soliciting ideas from all over the community” for ways to spend the money. A committee will meet later this summer to decide which projects will get the nod.
Suggestions so far have ranged from new gym equipment to kitchenettes in the barracks, Spink said.
“I think we have $6 million of ideas,” he said.
Other winners of this year’s award are Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, N.C., the 7th time the base has won the award; Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Fla., which has now won three times; Hurlburt Field, Fla., home to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command; and the Defense Supply Center at Philadelphia, Pa.
The last time an overseas Army installation won the award was in 1987, when it went to the Mainz Military Community in Germany.
Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan, won a Marine award in 1988. The Navy has tapped Yokasuka, Japan, three times; WESTPAC Guam, in 1985; and Sigonella, Italy, in 2001.