GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — A Soldier from Rose Barracks received the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Environmental Officer of the Year award for fiscal year 2017 at a recent USAG Bavaria Environmental Quality Control Counsel.
Sgt. Beau Murray, senior wheel mechanic, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, was recognized for taking initiative to improve the squadron’s environmental program. He set the standards in regards to storage and handling of hazardous materials and waste in compliance with U.S. environmental regulations and host nation environmental laws.
When Murray started as the Environmental Officer in May 2016, he requested courtesy inspections to identify areas that needed improvement and took immediate action to correct deficiencies.
“Before I became the EO, our environmental program passed inspections, but when I started I wanted to take it to the next level,” said Murray.
His previous experience as an EO with two prior units has given him a deep appreciation for environmental protection, its relationship to the Army’s mission and human health.
Murray’s recurrent environmental trainings enabled him to transfer his extensive knowledge of spill prevention, handling and storage of hazardous substances and recycling to the entire squadron.
“In order for the environmental program to be successful, everyone needs buy in to why proper environmental management is important. I focused on setting a good standard where the Infantry Soldiers and Mechanics work together to improve the program,” said Murray.
Chief Warrant Officer Karl Lorenz, automotive maintenance technician, 3rd Sqdn., 2 CR and Murray’s supervisor during his time as an EO, remarked that Murray not only corrected the deficiencies, he made larger changes that helped to reduce environmental risks.
“Every unit has a mandated program, but that does not mean the system is easy to use. When Sergeant Murray started as the EO, the hazardous waste management program was there but not particularly user friendly. Sergeant Murray assessed the situation and reorganized containment and set-up. He made it more efficient, user friendly and logical for our Soldiers,” said Lorenz. “For instance, he moved the temporary disposal containers directly into the areas where they were performing tasks that required them. This reduced the risks of spills during transfer, storage and pick-up of disposal containers.”
Murray’s abundance of self-motivation not only reduced his squadron’s environmental impacts, he also saved the Army money.
To prevent unnecessary disposal of hazardous materials, Murray worked with the Department of Logistics Reuse Center on Rose Barracks to extend the material’s shelf life. This in turn, saved the Army money by averting the need to purchase more hazardous materials and reduced hazardous waste disposal costs.
“Murray volunteered for the EO position on top of this regular duties because he saw an opportunity to improve the environmental program, and he wanted to make a difference. He did exactly that, and it shows.” said Lorenz.
While honored to receive the award, Murray emphasized that the success of 3rd Squadron’s environmental program was a team effort.
“I could not have done my job without the support of my chain of command as well as the support of our mechanics and Soldiers,” said Murray. “I am also grateful for the support of the Environmental Division. Working with Tobias Schwemmer has been amazing. Without the help of Mr. (Tobias) Schwemmer, Ms. (Elisabeth) Prem and Ms. (Sabine) Poerschke, I could not have achieved what I did. They were always ready to answer my questions and provide great guidance.”
Tobias Schwemmer, compliance inspector, USAG Bavaria Environmental Division, is impressed with Murray’s efforts and achievements during his time as an EO.
“Sergeant Murray’s professional and cooperative attitude, as well as his standard of excellence make him an exceptional EO,” said Schwemmer. He reports issues as they arise and asks for helps as he needs it. He sets a great example for other environmental officers and how they manage their motor pools.”
Murray’s previous supervisor, Lorenz is proud and not surprised that Murray received the Environmental Officer of the Year award.
“I absolutely believed he deserved the award. You must pick an individual who is self-motivated, dedicated and cares about the environment and the safety of his personnel. Sergeant Murray is everything you want in a leader, he is the total package,” said Lorenz.
Learn more about USAG Bavaria’s Environmental Division at www.bavaria.army.mil/environmental.