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Keesler named 2013 Air Force Installation Excellence Award winner
Keesler Air Force Base was named 2013 Air Force Installation Excellence Award winner. (U.S. Air Force photo Kemberly Groue and Illustration by Senior Airman Heather Heiney )
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Keesler named 2013 Air Force Installation Excellence Award winner

Posted 4/5/2013   Updated 4/5/2013 Email story   Print story


by 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

4/5/2013 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- After months of anticipation, members of Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., found out April 4 that they all work, live and play on the best installation in the Air Force.

"It is our distinct privilege to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the men and women who operate and maintain our Air Force installations," Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said in the memo announcing the award. "We thank them for a job very well done."

The Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence award recognizes the top installations that demonstrate enhanced productivity, dedication to continual improvement and other innovative accomplishments that create and sustain base operations to support the mission of the United States Air Force.

"I can't begin to describe how proud I am of everyone here on Keesler," said Brig. Gen. Brad Spacy, 81st Training Wing and installation commander. "We wouldn't have won if it weren't for the hard work and dedication of every one of our people. You all do great things every single day and are truly the world's best Airmen."

In addition to the honor of being named the Air Force's best installation, Keesler will also receive $1 million to invest in quality-of-life projects on the base.

"In these tough economic times, it is very important for us to be good stewards of taxpayer resources and we plan to invest this money in projects that not only enhance quality of life for our Airmen and their families, but maintain our cost conscious culture initiative," Spacy said.

A few examples of Keesler AFB's efforts include expanding the recycling program, renovating dormitories, improving the medical evaluation board case completion time, and reducing errors in deployment out-processing by 20 percent.

Additionally, the award reflects the teamwork between the host and tenant units on base, including the 403rd Wing.

"We are extremely pleased to be a partner in this award with Team Keesler," said Col. Craig LaFave, 403rd Wing commander. "It recognizes our close working relationship and the successes we've enjoyed as a team."

Seventeen personnel and eight units from Keesler AFB were named as "Special Recognition" winners for exemplary achievement in support of installation excellence.

The individual special-recognition winners are:

- Maj. John Ponton - 81st Force Support Squadron
- Maj. Wendy H. Wilkins - 81st Medical Surgical Squadron
- Capt. Jacob Marshall-JAG - 81st Training Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
- Master Sgt. Michael T. Asdel - 81st Training Wing Safety
- Master Sgt. Nicole D. Dismute - Mathies NCO Academy
- Master Sgt. Tomeika Washington - 81st Force Support Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Daniel J. Mike - 335th Training Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Shaun Wilke - 81st Training Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Brandon T. Barrette - 335th Training Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Hana K. Webb - 81st In-Patient Operations Squadron
- Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Pomeroy - 81st Comptroller Squadron
- Ms. Sandra M. Browne - 81st Training Wing (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator)
- Mr. Albert E. Ciampa - 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron
- Mr. Steven R. Green - 81st Contracting Squadron
- Mr. Tommy Lassabe - 81st Training Squadron
- Ms. Jackie A. Pope - 81st Force Support Squadron
- Mr. Gary R. Schafer - 81st Force Support Squadron

The unit winners are the 81st Force Support Squadron Manpower and Personnel Flight, 81st Medical Group Operating Room, 81st Security Forces Squadron Support Staff, 81st Training Group Military Training Operations, 81st Training Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 81st Training Wing Safety Office, 81st Training Wing Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office, and the 338th Training Squadron.

The journey to CINC installation excellence began Oct. 22, 2012, when Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, announced that Keesler was the command's nominee for the award for the second year in a row.

"Keesler AFB represents the 'Best of the Best' in Air Education and Training Command and is truly deserving of this recognition," said Rice, in a nomination letter to Headquarters Air Force. "Keesler's leaders and personnel have created an environment promoting innovation and pride in ownership to enhance base-level services, facilities, and quality-of-life."

Then, Nov. 28, 2012 officials announced that the base was a top-two finalist for the Air Force and would host a team of judges from the selection board Jan. 10-11 of this year.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Wright, 81st Mission Support Group deputy commander, was Keesler's project officer for the visit.

"It's not because of a single area that Keesler stands out," Wright said. "Relentlessly, Team Keesler members come up with innovative processes to support our missions efficiently, effectively and economically."

Spacy also emphasized that the award isn't just a reflection on the 81st TRW.

"This is a true testament to our partnership with all the tenant units and the local community," Spacy said. "We're thankful for all the support we receive from our neighbors and we look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence for years to come."

As the Air Force's top installation, Keesler AFB has been nomination to the Secretary of Defense for the 2013 Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

4/12/2013 9:10:24 AM ET
Congratulations Team Keesler I attended tech school there and the base was awesome. Keep up the good work.
Bertha, San Angelo Texas
4/9/2013 10:57:31 AM ET
CONGRATS Keesler AFB CSSgt Terry Tartavoulle Bay High School Air Force JROTC
CSSgt Terry Tartavoulle, Bay St. Louis Mississippi
4/5/2013 9:49:56 PM ET
Way to go.... I knew this was going to take place...just knew takes a team and my kids are part of that team...Congratulations
Renate, Lancaster CA
4/5/2013 5:56:12 PM ET
Laura Gipple, Cape May New Jersey
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