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None better than Subase Bangor

The day following his 29th anniversary in the Navy, Capt. Duane Baker, Jr. commanding officer for Naval Submarine Base Bangor accepted the Best Base Award from Navy Times.

But the honor was in no way his alone.

Members from all factions that keep the base running accepted the award.

“It would be impossible for me to offer enough programs to overcome any bad feelings a sailor might have. It takes help from the community,” Baker said.

Subase Bangor was named the best base in the Navy for 2001 in the first year of the awards. It also received nods for the Best Community Spirit Award and a recreational award.

A brief ceremony with Navy and Navy Times representatives was held Wednesday morning at Deterrent Park.

Tobias Naegele, editor-in-chief for Army Times Publishing Company, which produces the weekly Navy Times newspaper presented the award.

“This is the rank and file speaking. We see ourselves in part as the view of the sailor,” he said of the Navy Times. The newspaper asked sailors to fill out a survey on where they thought the best base was based on recreation, location, the surrounding community and other criteria.

“Community spirit is a key element. If the community embraces its troops you really do have a home,” Naegele.

Troops at the base spend thousands of hours in one-on-one tutoring and mentoring in Kitsap schools. The “Water for Life” program has teams of sailors working with area youth to clean waterways.

Readers of the national publication also gave Subase Bangor high marks in housing. Since the mid-1990s, 520 family housing units have been built and 170 units have been added to Jackson Park off the base.

He said quite a few votes came in from the Subase itself, but Bangor is not one of the bigger bases such as San Diego, Calif.

The award was started by the Virginia-based publishing company, owned by the Gannett Corporation, after Sept. 11 to recognize outstanding troops and bases.

Subase Bangor, located on 7,500 acre base on the Hood Canal is homeport to eight Trident submarines and the USS Parche Sturgeon-class submarine. It was honored in 1987 with the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award. It has also won numerous environmental awards.

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