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NEWS | April 27, 2021

Environmental Division earns Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award

By Laurie Pearson Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California has earned the Secretary of the Navy 2021 Cultural Resources Management Award for small Installations, beating out all other Navy and Marine Corps installations in that category.

   “To qualify for this award, the installation must be 10,000 acres or smaller and have taken significant steps to promote effective cultural resources management through proactive stewardship of heritage assets,” said Jason Thompson, Environmental director.

   The achievement tracks cultural resources efforts from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2020 (Fiscal Year 2019-2020).

   “Since 1962, the Secretary of Defense has honored installations, teams, and individuals for outstanding achievements in Department of Defense environmental programs,” said Benjamin “Cody” Leslie, Natural Resources Specialist and Cultural Resources support. “The nominees are evaluated by a diverse panel of judges with relevant expertise from federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.”

   “This a great award to receive as it recognizes MCLB Barstow’s hard work and dedication to the environment and its cultural resources,” Thompson said. “Angelina Antonucci was the Cultural Resources Program Manager during this time period who really spearheaded the whole endeavor ensuring the program was a success. We received a lot of support for the Cultural Resources Program from Headquarters Marine Corps, Colonel Clemons, base commanding officer, and Jon Aunger, Facilities director.”

   “Installations also need to demonstrate progress in identifying and evaluating cultural resources including archaeological sites, cultural items, the historic built environment, and cultural landscapes,” Leslie said. “We can also demonstrate partnerships with installation stakeholders such as public works and range management, as well as partnerships with external stakeholders, such as Native American tribes and states. We also had to have an approved Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan in place and active for the entire achievement period.”

   All of this must also be accomplished while still maintaining the military readiness mission.

   “We submitted an extensive package to include an Installation Narrative which is the actual write-up for the award submission and includes achievements and photos, photo captions, compliance reports, and various release forms,” Leslie explained. “This is written by the Program Manager and submitted to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for review and acceptance.”

   The base and the Environmental Division will receive a trophy, a United States flag flown over the Capitol on Earth Day and over the Pentagon on Memorial Day, a meritorious achievement certificate signed by the Secretary of Defense, and a letter of congratulations. In addition, they’ll receive recognition on a Secretary of the Navy Environmental Awards display in the Pentagon and on the website (www.denix.osd.mil/awards).

   “During the reporting period, MCLB Barstow undertook several tasks to help restore cultural sites and to improve and organize the Cultural Resources program on base, to include: Graffiti Removal at Rattlesnake Rock Petroglyph, Native American Consultation and Outreach project, Integrated Cultural Resources Management Programs revisions, and Data Management and Analysis,” Leslie said.

            “What really made MCLB Barstow stand out for this award was the removal of graffiti from our cultural resources site ‘Rattlesnake Rock’, which contains several petroglyphs,” Thompson said. “This was a site for Native American Tribes to come visit. Throughout the decades, when the site was unprotected, people vandalized the site by spray painting names and dates. This never should have happened and it only destroys the environment. We wanted to correct past mistakes of others and show the Native American Tribes and the community that we are preserving and respecting the site and restoring it to its natural state with the petroglyphs undisturbed.”

   All of these efforts have helped to improve upon the Cultural Resources Program while providing support to the mission.

   “If there’s one thing Marines prize, it’s our history,” said Col. Craig C. Clemans, commanding officer. “The effort to preserve the history of cultures and times gone by aboard MCLB Barstow, across the very sod we walk daily, is something we should all be proud of and prioritize.  Jason Thompson and Cody Benjamin and others on their team, have demonstrated tremendous initiative in linking present day MCLB to its past. I’m incredibly grateful for their work.”

   This award is a reflection of the work performed by the Environmental Division as well as the Plans and Conservation Branch staff and the commitment of command staff to move forward with protecting historical and cultural assets.

   “Marines need a variety of landscapes and facilities to conduct training,” Leslie said. ”However, training can impact cultural resources on public lands. The American people place intrinsic value on certain resources; failure to protect those resources under the stewardship of the Marine Corps may lead to legislative, executive, or judicial directives limiting Marine Corps access to lands necessary to maintain military readiness. Conducting the programs that have earned MCLB Barstow the Secretary of the Navy Award for Cultural Resources-Small Installation, shows that this base is committed to protecting and preserving the cultural resources that are part of American history all while ensuring mission requirements.”