District personnel joined members of the New Mexico National Guard in honoring the Soldiers of Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment, who returned home from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, April 27. The ceremony also served as a ribbon cutting for a new Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF), which was constructed under the Corps’ oversight and will provide a location for aviation support and maintenance and a temporary home for the unit, while the old AASF is transformed into a readiness center.
The facility was constructed with environmental efficiency as a priority. The Project Delivery Team has submitted documentation to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for review and determination of the project’s certification level, and the team is confident the facility will achieve gold certification. This would be the District and the Guard’s first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) gold certified facility.
LEED is a system that defines and measures “green buildings.” It was developed as a pilot program by the USGBC under a grant from the Department of Energy and launched in August 1998. The LEED rating system is organized into five environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality, plus an additional category for Innovation and Design. Points are earned for satisfying performance criteria in each of these categories. Four different levels of green building certification are awarded by USGBC based on the total points earned. These levels are “Certified” at 26-32 points, “Silver” at 33-38 points, “Gold” at 39-51 points and “Platinum” at 52-69 Points.
The AASF was initially slated for LEED Silver certification, but through a collaborative effort by the Project Delivery Team and the Guard, and a commitment to sustainability, the project is on track for gold with no additional associated costs.
“Company C Soldiers deserve the best and most environmentally efficient facility we are able to provide,” said District Commander Lt. Col. Jason Williams. “This medical evacuation unit who flies UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to transport injured personnel from the site of injury to higher levels of medical care is under continuous strain.”
The unit transported fellow Soldiers, Marines, allied forces and injured civilians in need of attention in Afghanistan. They have participated in 1,452 missions, transported 1,825 patients, logged more than 4,000 flight hours and maintained 17 Blackhawks during their tenure.
In recent years, the New Mexico National Guard has deployed to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba, and there are more than 400 Soldiers serving in an Observer mission in Sinai, Egypt.