Respecting, training and testing, too

BARKING SANDS — Pacific Missile Range Facility was one of two winners of the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award. Awardees were announced Friday in Washington D.C.

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

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

PMRF works with federal and state agencies, schools, conservation organizations, the public and the host community to implement groundbreaking initiatives toward conservation, environmental protection and the protection of endangered species.

Initiatives include 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.

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.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee was the other winner. 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.

“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.”

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.

Both PMRF and USS Chafee were also 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.

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