SJ captures AF-level environmental award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
The efforts of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base community to reduce its environmental impact have paid off earning the 4th Fighter Wing the 2009 U.S. Air Force Gen. Thomas D. White Environmental Quality Award.

Air Force officials present this award to the installation with the best or most improved environmental quality program.

"This award recognizes our continued sustainment of environmental compliance and outstanding environmental program quality," said Donald Abrams, 4th Civil Engineer Squadron Asset Management Flight chief. "It recognizes the outstanding work accomplished every day by our program managers. It is a testament to our dedication to have the best environmental program in the Air Force."

Dean Chastain, 4th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental element chief, attributes earning the award to a number of factors. He said key elements were leadership engagement and environmental consideration during the decision-making process; pollution prevention; recycling, environmental awareness, training and outreach programs; successfully clean-up of past contamination and a reduction in generated hazardous waste. In addition, the base personnel has a working relationships with off-base agencies and shows a history of complying with environmental laws and regulations.

"All of these factors are important and I believe the strength of our entire program, not just one aspect was evident," Chastain said. "The personnel in the asset management flight, formally known as the environmental flight, are the most professional, knowledgeable and effective group I've ever been associated with. They all have a "will do' attitude that enables the 4th FW mission success while adhering to environmental requirements."

In addition to the team work shown by the asset management flight the entire base came together to earn this accolade.

"Although 4th CES/CEA is the OPR for environmental quality, everyone from civilians to airman basic to the base commander, played a role in this achievement," Chastain said. "They should be proud."

The efforts of the flight and the base highlighted in the award package were not just bullets about desired ideals but proven base practices.

"The environmental program withstood seven regulatory inspections and six site visits without a Notice of Visitation," Chastain said. "The base has not received an NOV for more than five years."

Excelling during these inspections helped set the base up for success.

The most rewarding part of the process was earning this award even though the flight went through major reorganization and many position vacancies/manpower shortages, Chastain said.

The flight is not letting the gleam of the award distract from the path in front of it, there are plans in place to continue a strong base environmental program.

"We have an outstanding group of professionals managing our environmental programs," Abrams said. "Each one is extremely knowledgeable in their respective area. In addition, each one is dedicated to sustaining the outstanding posture of the 4th FW's environmental programs."

The asset management flight manages a robust environmental management system that includes all wing organizations, maintains an information Web page titled eDASH accessible through the 4th FW home page and manages an Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health training site accessible through

"Information and communication are key factors in maintaining environmental compliance across the wing," Abrams said.

In the end this award stands for one simple fact.

"This recognizes that Seymour Johnson environmental programs are the base in the Air Force," Chastain said.

The competition is not ever yet; Seymour Johnson's environmental program is now being compared to the best of the best in the Department of Defense. The winner of the DoD award will be announced April 9.