Soldiers help make joint contracting team successful for the Pacific
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – Vince Lombardi was quoted as saying: “Individual commitment to a group effort that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
For Army contracting soldiers of the 680th Contingency Contracting Team, who work alongside their Air Force and civilian counterparts at the 18th Contracting Squadron on Kadena Air Base, Japan, they understand the importance of being a valued member of a team.
Army Capt. William Roberts, a team leader for the 680th CCT, explained the unit has a total of five soldiers who share the workload to purchase items to procure services for the 18th CONS throughout the Pacific command.
“We’re embedded with the Air Force to conduct operational contracting,” said Roberts. “That’s everyday services that need any type of contract that involves things like maintenance and services.”
The opportunity for soldiers of the 680th CCT dates back to 2012 when both services signed a memorandum of agreement that afforded Army contracting personnel the opportunity to learn the business alongside airmen. As a result Air Force contracting units host soldiers for the general purpose of training in operational contracting. The training allows soldiers to gain valuable experience in day to day operations to prepare for contingency missions while supporting the host unit’s mission.
Air Force Lt. Col. Calvin Hodgson, the commander of the 18th CONS, says that developing a joint team allows for a greater understanding of the art of contracting.
“The Army has a great way of developing leaders,” said Hodgson. “We’re learning a lot from soldiers as well and its great relationship that we have.”
He said another benefit his airmen gain from the joint environment is the Army primarily assigns noncommissioned officers to the assignment. The noncommissioned officers bring a wealth of military experience to help his leaders guide and mentor younger airmen.
The 680th CCT soldiers work in three different sections to include services, commodities and construction. The 18th CONS is a busy and active member of the pacific command’s team. The unit provides contracting support, not only to Department of Defense activities on Okinawa, but also provides worldwide contingency contracting support across the Pacific region estimated at more than $1.4 million worth of contracts annually.
Army Staff Sgt. Daunte Graves, a contracting noncommissioned officer who works in the commodities section, said having an opportunity to represent the Army in a joint environment is what he looked for when he decided to change his military occupational specialty to contracting.
“I was looking at a career and future outside the military, so I chose to reclassify,” said Graves. “It’s great the Army decided to support and build a contracting NCO base a few years ago because it develops a great corps of contracting professionals and I’ve really enjoyed it,” explained Graves.
Roberts said soldiers of the 680th CCT have contributed greatly to the team of professionals at the 18th CON and his soldiers stay motivated not only to represent themselves but the Army as a whole.
“We have a great group of soldiers that represent the Army well in this joint environment,” said Roberts. “What’s motivating is we really believe in one team, one fight.”
The 680th CCT higher headquarters is the 413th Contracting Support Squadron based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. To find out more about the 413th CSB and the Army’s Expeditionary Contracting Command log on to:http://www.acc.army.mil/ecc/413th/