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Last year, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s maintenance shops were named third best in the Army National Guard for environmental quality.

This year, they are best in the entire Defense Department for Environmental Quality in the Industrial Installation category.

“Over the past two years, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s program has developed a clear framework of action-oriented goals to minimize risks of environmental impact,” said Alex Beehler, assistant Army secretary for installations, energy and environment. “[The Wisconsin Army National Guard] has historically been a supporter of environmental concerns that further the goal of readiness.”

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Fred Gallatin, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s environmental branch chief, described his environmental staff as “robust and diligent,” noting successful efforts to protect human health regarding environmental planning, waste management and compliance with environmental laws and regulations while managing and maintaining thousands of vehicles and equipment for 99 Wisconsin Army National Guard units across the state.

The Wisconsin Army National Guard was among the first government agencies to join the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Green Tier program in 2009. The Green Tier program provides incentives to exceed environmental regulatory requirements and maintain an active environmental management system, or EMS.

To earn the third place National Guard environmental award, Gallatin and his staff had to demonstrate how the Wisconsin Army National Guard improved environmental quality and protected human health, explain how its innovations were successful or not successful in meeting environmental goals, and describe how its program was unique, cost-effective and exceeded statutory and regulatory requirements. That same criteria led to the Secretary of Defense award this year.

“This award is the Department of Defense’s highest honor for outstanding environmental stewardship and leadership,” Beehler said, “and is presented to those individuals, teams and installations on the fore of Army’s efforts to protect human health and safety, achieve environmental excellence, and provide support for our Soldiers.”

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said the Secretary of Defense award reflects the Wisconsin National Guard’s commitment to protecting Wisconsin and the nation both by overall readiness and by environmental stewardship.

“This recognition underscores the tremendous hard work that Chief Gallatin and his team have put in to make sure that our ability to effectively respond to domestic or federal emergencies results in as little environmental impact as possible,” Dunbar said.