Two Hawaii-Based Navy Commands Advance to Win Secretary of Navy Environmental Awards

Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) are winners of the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award.  Awardees were announced Friday, March 11, 2016 in Washington D.C..

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following an independent deployment to the Western Pacific. Deployed since May, the crew of more than 350 Sailors steamed a total of 42,000 nautical miles across the U.S. 3rd, 4th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. While deployed Chafee conducted various theater security operations and goodwill activities with partner nations. Chafee also escorted USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a Southern Sea deployment around South America and through the Straits of Magellan before the carrier's return to Norfolk, Va., this month. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John M. Hageman/Released)

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following an independent deployment to the Western Pacific. Deployed since May, the crew of more than 350 Sailors steamed a total of 42,000 nautical miles across the U.S. 3rd, 4th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. While deployed Chafee conducted various theater security operations and goodwill activities with partner nations. Chafee also escorted USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a Southern Sea deployment around South America and through the Straits of Magellan before the carrier’s return to Norfolk, Va., this month. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John M. Hageman/Released)

PMRF, Barking Sands, on Kauai won the award for Natural Resources (small installation) and USS Chafee (DDG 90) homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam won the Afloat Environmental Award.

Both PMRF and USS Chafee were recently awarded with Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Awards on Feb. 22 which qualified them to advance, compete and win at the Secretary of the Navy Award level.

“These awards are the latest in a string of recognition that gives credence to our commitment to be good and caring stewards of the environment,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “I congratulate the men and women at PMRF and aboard USS Chafee, and I salute everyone on our team here in Hawaii – You are making a difference.”

PMRF works with federal and state agencies, schools, conservation organizations, the public and the host community to implement groundbreaking initiatives towards conservation, environmental protection and the protection of endangered species.  Initiatives include but are not limited to the Laysan Albatross Conservation program in which PMRF transfers Albatross eggs to Campbell National Wildlife refuge on Oahu providing new shelter and reducing the risk of aircraft strikes.

KAUAI, Hawaii (Oct. 27 2015) A member of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) environmental program at Pacific Missile Range (PMRF) Facility, Barking Sands on Kauai, starts up the ornithology radar used to keep track of flight patterns of the Newell’s Shearwater. The Newell’s Shearwater, an endangered pelagic seabird, leaves its nest on Kauai to the open ocean during the darkest nights. PMRF is implementing new programs such as the Dark Skies Program along with the use of radar ornithology to assist with ongoing conservation efforts and improve the birds’ chances of safely making it to sea. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gabrielle Joyner/released)

KAUAI, Hawaii (Oct. 27 2015) A member of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) environmental program at Pacific Missile Range (PMRF) Facility, Barking Sands on Kauai, starts up the ornithology radar used to keep track of flight patterns of the Newell’s Shearwater. The Newell’s Shearwater, an endangered pelagic seabird, leaves its nest on Kauai to the open ocean during the darkest nights. PMRF is implementing new programs such as the Dark Skies Program along with the use of radar ornithology to assist with ongoing conservation efforts and improve the birds’ chances of safely making it to sea. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gabrielle Joyner/released)

The “Dark Sky” initiative, which directs the turning off of all non-essential exterior lighting on PMRF during the Newell Shearwater, Hawaiian and Band-Rumped Storm Petrel migration season, has reduced “fallout” by these endangered birds that are naturally attracted to light.

“Although the accolades are nice, I am much more satisfied knowing that the entire PMRF Ohana takes their kuleana (responsibility) seriously.  Respecting and protecting the aina (land) while running the premier training and test range is not just what we do, it is who we are,” said Capt. Bruce Hay, Commanding Officer, PMRF.

Environmental protection and energy conservation were at the forefront of operations aboard USS Chafee in 2015, according to Cmdr. Shea Thompson, Chafee’s commanding officer.

“We’re all thrilled to have been selected for this award. We strive for efficiency in all aspects of our war-fighting operations and to be good stewards of our environment,” said Thompson.

USS Chafee transited more than 37,000 miles on a seven-month deployment to the 3rd, 4th, and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility during 2015 while participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative, Talisman Sabre 15, UNITAS PAC 15, and UNITAS LANT 15.  USS Chafee conducted all operations with no impact to marine mammals and with safe and clean refueling operations.

Both Chafee and PMRF have been involved in Great Green Fleet operations in recent years, and both commands continue to support energy conservation and environmental stewardship.

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