The Air Force took home three top honors in the 2018 Secretary of Defense environmental awards program. The Combat Rescue Helicopter Program Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Team, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, earned the award for Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition, Large Program. (Courtesy graphic)

Combat Rescue Helicopter Team earns DOD Environmental Award

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Combat Rescue Helicopter team at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was recognized as the 2018 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award winner in a Department of Defense announcement April 20.

The CRH Program team was named winner of Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition Large Program category. The CRH Program is a U.S. Air Force Acquisition program replacing aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters with a new system designated as the HH-60W. The program manages not only the aircraft but also its support equipment and training systems throughout the lifecycle.

The Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices. Established in 1962, the awards distinguish outstanding environmental practices that not only protect the environment, but also support mission readiness.

The CRH Program’s overall approach for integrating environment, safety and occupational health, or ESOH, into the systems engineering process and acquisition strategy is the responsibility of the its ESOH Team. The team is comprised of cross-functional government-contractor members including engineers, managers, maintenance specialists, and user representatives from the government program office, Air Combat Command, Sikorsky Aircraft Company and other stakeholders.

The CRH Program ESOH Team pushed the envelope to achieve groundbreaking ESOH risk and hazardous materials reductions without impacting the program’s cost, schedule or performance objectives. Several notable achievements contributed to their award-winning, DoD recognition include:

• Eliminated 40 percent of hazardous materials across the CRH’s airframe, avionics and maintenance technical documentation, which significantly reduced risks to personnel and the environment.

• The team comprehensively identified, assessed and mitigated noise risk to operators and maintainers, protecting Airmen from long-term hearing loss and potential disabilities.

• The CRH is the first Air Force aircraft to eliminate hexavalent chromium, or Cr6+, paints from both the exterior and interior surfaces of the aircraft. This initiative is perhaps the top ESOH risk facing the Department of Defense today.

“This well-deserved award exemplifies the CRH ESOH Team’s commitment and dedication when it comes to delivering environmental excellence in a premier and crucial weapon system acquisition program,” said Col. Martin O’Grady, program executive officer for the AFLCMC Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces Directorate, which oversees the CRH program.

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