Environmental experts from Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Marianas and NAVFAC Pacific were recently awarded the 2021 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award for Cultural Resources Management Individual or Team for work at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz.
The MCB Camp Blaz Guam Cultural Resources Team (GCRT) is composed of NAVFAC employees assigned to the installation and Joint Region Marianas for the implementation of the 2011 Programmatic Agreement (PA) for the Marine Corps relocation in Guam. They also provide cultural resource management expertise for the oversight and management of 50,452 acres of land and 247 square miles of water training and test ranges located on the islands of Tinian, Farallon de Medinilla, and Guam.
“Congratulations to the entire MCB Camp Blaz Guam Cultural Resources Team on being recognized as the 2021 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award winner for Cultural Resources Management Individual or Team,” said NAVFAC Pacific Commander Rear Adm. John Adametz. “This impressive accomplishment showcases the collaborative effort between NAVFAC Pacific, NAVFAC Marianas and MCB Camp Blaz on managing cultural resources on such a high-profile project. This is a great example of teamwork demonstrated by our talented and dedicated group of professionals.”
The 2011 PA satisfies the requirement of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and guides the management of properties affected by construction and operations of MCB Camp Blaz. Mitigation requirements of the 2011 PA, some of which are unique from other agreements under the Department of the Navy, are overseen and implemented by the GCRT.
“Our team has completed an extensive amount of work over the last few years that continues to shine light on Guam's rich cultural heritage. I'm extremely proud of the men and women dedicated to preserving stories from the past that are vital to our identity as a nation and are a source of learning opportunities for the present,” said NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Tim Liberatore. “The construction of a new military installation involves many moving parts, and our cultural resources team plays a significant role in ensuring we meet all federal requirements, while also working alongside our government of Guam counterparts.”
Some of the key objectives successfully carried out by the team include innovating through program and project management improvements; promoting transparency and outreach with key stakeholders; reviewing performance and adapting to resolve disputes; investing in cultural resource professionals; and developing solutions to complex mitigations.
With the anticipated arrival of approximately 5,000 Marines to Guam in the coming years, the team contributes significantly to quality assurance by conducting site visits, reviewing documents, and communicating frequently with construction and archeological contractors.
“The Camp Blaz environmental team continues to excel with yet another award recognizing their hard work and success managing and helping to protect Guam's cultural resources for future generations,” said MCB Camp Blaz Commanding Officer Col. Bradley Magrath. “We could not be more proud of their accomplishments, dedication to cultural stewardship and respect for the island's heritage while supporting the responsible construction of the base. I look forward to our environmental team building upon our successes while continuing to ensure a compliant and sustainable cultural resource management program.”
The collaborative effort between NAVFAC Marianas, NAVFAC Pacific, MCB Camp Blaz and JRM, and the continuing relationship with the local community is a display of the team’s commitment to cultural stewardship and respect for the island’s cultural heritage.
“Building a new base provides an opportunity for the cultural resources team to collect new information about the history of the Guam as we support construction activities,” said GCRT team lead Ronnie Rogers, NAVFAC Marianas cultural resource manager at MCB Camp Blaz. “To an archaeologist, excavations are a window looking back in time and the scale of development represents the rare opportunity of a clearer view. Implementing the 2011 PA has resulted in significant new information, which we submit as technical reports to Guam State Historic Preservation Office for researchers and educational booklets, workshops, consultations, and exhibits for the public. All of our fellow GCRT members have been crucial to our accomplishments, but more importantly we are grateful to the Guam community for the valuable input and attention, which at the end of the day results in better-informed management of Guam cultural resources under our team’s care.”