HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Recently, the Mississippi National Guard's environmental office at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center received top honors in environmental security.
Mississippi outperformed other states' National Guards that entered the 2017 Army National Guard Environmental Security Award contest for large installations.
"Once a year, the National Guard Bureau has competitions for all states to enter their program, and my program won first place," said Rita McCarty, Camp Shelby Cultural Resources Management program manager.
The Cultural Resources Management Program at the base identified some 2,200 archaeological sites on the grounds of Camp Shelby using ground penetrating radar.
The discoveries included WWI-era training trenches, cave shelters and a cantonment area associated with bakery operations, a restaurant, pool hall and an ice house. These finds will eventually be exhibited at the base's Mississippi Armed Forces Museum.
"This is pretty big," said McCarty. "I was surprised to win the award because I was going up against my colleagues from other states that have great programs, so I was kind of surprised."
The Department of Defense recognizes each winner with a trophy, a Secretary of Defense certificate of meritorious achievement and an honorary American flag that is flown over the U.S. Capitol on Earth Day.