Nellis dedicates environmental grove to former Fighter Weapons Center commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
In fall 1990, Maj. Gen. Billy McCoy, commander of what was then the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons Center, established a separate environmental office at Nellis Air Force Base with one goal in mind: "mission accomplishment through environmental excellence. "

Two years later, through this environmental office, the Nellis Environmental Grove was christened, creating a protected environment and further showing the Air Force's dedication to ecological preservation.

"General McCoy was a great commander for not only establishing this grove, but, through this, creating a path for further environmental awareness and conservation throughout the Air Force," said Col. Michael Bartley, 99th Air Base Wing commander. "[The grove rededication] is just one more action in the right direction for us, falling in line with our other featured 'green' success stories, like the solar-power array and the new zeroscaping that will save Nellis an estimated $250,000 a year."

Now, 16 years after the groundbreaking of the original environmental grove, the men and women of the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Office dedicated the grove to General McCoy in honor of his environmental commitment, said Kim Walters, environmental office program manager.

"The 'Major General Billy McCoy Environmental Grove,' is our way to pay homage to the general and the great things he did for Nellis while the center commander," said Ms. Walters. The new grove will house a multitude of different sections highlighting specific areas of conservation, she added.

Some of the sections include solar-powered lights and will have various areas dedicated to specific cultures and plants; like a historic tree, tortoise habitat, survival plants, a "Native American" section with aloe plants and other foliage used commonly by the American Indians and many others.

The rededication ceremony was held in the same month as Earth Day and Arbor Day, giving Nellis a unique opportunity to promote conservation awareness in this environmentally conscious era, said Ms. Walters.

The "Major General Billy McCoy Environmental Grove" will be around for years to come, serving as a reminder to Airmen to conserve the earth's natural resources and stay environmentally conscious.

"The grove is just a symbol of General McCoy's dedication to the environment," said Colonel Bartley. Using General McCoy's words, Colonel Bartley added, "A country worth defending is a country worth protecting."