|Sgt. Michael Shelby, Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site (MATES), Texas Army National Guard, works on a heavy equipment transporter, while using a drip pan to maintain leaking gear oil. Drip pans are one way MATES enforces environmental policies. MATES was recognized more than 48 other battalion size or larger units located at Fort Hood by Fort Hood's Directorate of Public Works for outstanding environmental stewardship Feb. 11, 2014. Fort Hood, Texas.
Story by Capt. Martha Nigrelle
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Texas Army National Guard Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site, or MATES, was honored Feb. 11 at Fort Hood during the Hood Hero award ceremony, for outstanding environmental stewardship.
MATES was recognized over 48 other battalion size or larger units located at Fort Hood by Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works (DPW) explained Glenn Collier, Environmental Protection Specialist at Fort Hood. The DPW conducts regular environmental inspections at these maintenance facilities. Based on results from these inspections, environmental protection specialists determine who will be recognized for outstanding environmental stewardship.
“MATES was selected as a result of a continued commitment to upholding environmental standards and policies. They don’t just get cleaned up and look pretty for inspections, they stay that way all the time,” Collier said.
Don Melton, Regional Environmental Specialist for the Texas Military Forces, explained that the environmental management system follows policies and guidance set at the federal, state, and local levels.
“This high standard ensures consistency in the program. The Soldiers recycle almost everything,” said Melton.
It’s about a commitment to the environmental program, visibility on the program, and making good environmental habits simple and easy to maintain explained Texas Army National Guard Col. Stanley Goloboff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics.
“This shop is an example of every one of our [Texas Army National Guard] maintenance facilities. The same level of environmental stewardship that is going on at MATES is going on in all of our  facilities,” continued Goloboff.
The practice of recycling and disposing of waste immediately is what keeps these shops so clean explained Chief Warrant Office 2 Ryan Ramsey, the MATES environmental officer in charge. This prevents shops from accumulating waste, resulting in a clean working environment.
This isn’t the first time that MATES has been recognized for outstanding environmental stewardship.
In 2012, MATES received the highest state environmental award, the HONDO award, for excellence in environmental stewardship said Texas Army National Guard Maj. John Hutka, MATES superintendent.
According to Hutka, National Guard units outside of Texas have also reached out to MATES as an example for good environmental practices.
The MATES team works hard at being good environmental stewards, but the main focus is always their mission. They maintain over 1600 vehicles for the Texas Army National Guard, servicing vehicles from brigades all over the state. Because of their unique location next to Fort Hood’s largest training area, they also prepare and issue necessary equipment to both Texas units, and any other guard or reserve unit that comes to Fort Hood for training. Should an active duty unit need assistance for their training mission, MATES is there to assist them as well.
“Our facility is like a hub. If anyone ever needs to turn something in, we take it. We never turn anyone away – reserve, civilian, or active,” said Sgt. Kisha Mathurin, environmental noncommissioned officer for MATES. “I am very proud of the team here and all of their hard work.”
Brig. Gen. Douglas Gabram, Deputy Commanding General 1st Cavalry Division, and keynote speaker for ceremony, said about the awardees, “these are the people who improve the quality of life for all of us at Fort Hood.”
The teamwork at MATES, their commitment to the environment, and their commitment to their fellow service members, both guard and active is key to the shop.
“We have a very good team over here at Fort Hood,” Ramsey explained. “We help out other units who come here to North Fort Hood. We give them that guard hospitality.”