US Army Garrison Japan named Army Communities of Excellence silver award winner
CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- U.S. Army Garrison Japan was named a silver award winner in the annual Army Communities of Excellence program following an announcement released to the garrison March 26.
This marks USAG-J's second consecutive ACOE win, following the bronze award the unit received last year -- an accomplishment that confirms USAG-J is providing high-quality services to its community members, said one ACOE team member here.
"We took the feedback that we received from the ACOE team [in 2012] and we applied those lessons learned ... toward our processes to improve those services and support [programs]," said Ainsworth Jackson, assigned to the USAG-J Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, who was the garrison's ACOE writing team supervisor. "We also did a better job of communicating our accomplishments to the larger force. [This award] is a validation that we are doing the right thing."
The ACOE program is based on the principle that communities support people best by combining excellent services with excellent facilities in a quality environment, according to a release from U.S. Army Installation Management Command. ACOE awards have been presented annually since 1989.
More than 80 Army garrisons worldwide are eligible to compete for ACOE recognition, Jackson said. USAG-J was one of six award winners this year -- one gold, two silver and three bronze -- and the only winning garrison outside the continental U.S. Other awardees included gold winner USAG Fort Rucker, Ala.; other silver winner Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash; and bronze winners USAG Fort Campbell, Ky., USAG Fort Drum, N.Y., and USAG AP Hill, Va.
"Our goal is to set the standard each year, raising the bar," said Jackson. "This year we're going to take those lessons learned [and the] feedback, and try to apply them to our business practices."
The ACOE winners are expected to be officially presented their awards later this year. The awards are typically accompanied by funds that are presented to each garrison -- as much as $500,000 -- that they then put toward community improvement projects of their choosing. An outdoor skating rink was built last year with USAG-J's bronze-award winnings.
USAG-J's back-to-back ACOE wins, along with the jump from bronze to silver, illustrate that the garrison is increasing in its ability to satisfy the needs and desires of the community it serves, including Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, their family members, and local national employees, said the garrison's ACOE coordinator.
"This [award] was a good, tangible example or illustration of how we were able to improve our performance from the previous year to provide even better service to our community this year," said Pete Rencehausen, also assigned to PAIO.
As preparations begin for next year's ACOE submission, Rencehausen said the garrison will not rest on its laurels as a previous winner, but rather work to identify and improve upon any existing shortfalls so that USAG-J can continue to best serve its community.
"The overall concept [of ACOE] is not to win an award," said Rencehausen. "The overall concept is ... to follow steps to ensure that [your organization] is providing your customers with what they want."
Other units recognized as "Most Improved" winners in the ACOE included USAG Detroit Arsenal, Mich.; USAG Fort Detrick, Md.; USAG Fort Buchanan, Ariz.; and USAG Fort Greely, Alaska.