Commanders, environmental compliance officers and civilian leaders joined Maj. Gen. Michael Keating, deputy commander for support (U.K.) of III Corps and Fort Hood and Directorate of Public Works team members for the quarterly environmental quality control committee meeting, Nov. 9, hosted by 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
“We know our mission on Fort Hood is to train Soldiers to go fight, win and come home safely for whatever our nation needs us to do,” Timi Dutchuk, chief of environmental programs, Directorate of Public Works, said. “But in order for you to do that, we need to have safe, sustainable training lands and work areas.”
Dutchuk explained Fort Hood must comply with the federal rules of the Environmental Protection Agency and the state’s environmental agency – Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“We take care of the environment because we are taking care of ourselves in the process,” she said. “Fundamentally, we are here to make sure you are safe and healthy to do what you need to do.”
Keating then followed up with a question asking “Who’s got kids?”
“That’s the other reason we are doing what we are doing – to make it a better world for their future,” he said. “We all have a military duty and professional responsibility, and we owe it to each other and those that follow us to leave things in a better place.”
Away from the conference room and outdoors in the battalion’s motor pool, DPW staff highlighted lessons learned to meet the installation’s environmental requirements, while also maintaining a high operations tempo.
Attendees toured the battalion’s motor pool and were able to see best practices for storing and disposing of used petroleum products, oil and lubricant storage, the maintenance bay, above ground storage tanks, oil/water separator and the recycle program.
The EQCC concluded with remarks by Lt. Col. Jose Reyes, battalion commander of 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt., and Keating recognizing 2nd Lt. Thomas Stremlau with a III Corps coin for his environmental stewardship and leadership.
“Rarely do you see a second lieutenant that impacts the entire battalion and the brigade,” Reyes said. “My advice to the rest of the ECOs here, if you don’t have the ear of your commander, command sergeant major or executive officer, do everything you can to get that.”
Reyes explained how Stremlau, in the short couple of weeks as a newly trained ECO, gained the attention of leadership to turn their footprint around to meet the installation’s environmental standards.
“A commander, command sergeant major and an executive officer, that generally cares what everybody does, is going to take the advice of a trained ECO and then take action,” Reyes said. “You, as an ECO, can’t do it by yourself. We are recognizing somebody who has taken initiative with his new knowledge and new certification, grabbed the attention of key people and then made some stuff happen.”
Keating echoed Stremlau’s sentiments, thanking all the ECOs in attendance.
“You go around here, busy motor pools like this, and trying to get some sense of coordination and organization to look after the environment and do our bit for sustainability and future training opportunities,” Keating said. “From me, and much more importantly, from Lt. Gen. White, the CG for III Corps, thanks for what you do. You don’t get the credit you deserve.”