SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
The 4th Contracting Squadron and Fort Bragg’s 900th Contracting Battalion took part in the second annual Joint Contracting Exercise Feb. 11-14 at Fort Bragg.
The two units integrated into two Army-led and two Air Force-led contracting teams in order to train together in a simulated contingency exercise.
Each team, labeled as a regional contracting center, was given identical scenarios in which they had to contract with vendors for certain resources in order to fulfill their commander’s and mission needs.
The exercise gave an experience for what it’ll be like when deployed, said Airman 1st Class Ezekiel Galyon, a contract specialist with the 4th Contracting Squadron.
“Contracting, like many jobs in the Air Force, most often is utilized in a joint-operating environment,” said Galyon. “So this exercise gives us the opportunity to do what we would not normally be able to do until it’s time to execute and to see how the rules change in order to succeed when we’re working with the Army.”
In the scenario the teams were placed in Panama in support of joint task force mission SOUTH, dealing the interdiction and battle of drug flow in South America. They were given a list of various items that needed to be purchased, such as X-ray machines to find hidden drugs, machetes needed for clearing tall grass and civilian clothing for members meeting with local nationals. Each team had to devise a strategy of how to effectively utilize funds in order to acquire the resources needed and pitch their capabilities to the commander of the operation.
Not only did the exercise sharpen each unit’s skills of working in a joint environment, it also helped develop the leaders of those teams.
“It’s enhanced my ability to understand different organizational best practices, lessons learned and has provided me with additional tools that I can add to my toolkit,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Eliud Temblador, 609th Contracting Team NCO in charge. “The relationships that have been fostered between the forces will have a lasting impression, especially since we work in such a small career field.”
Overall, the exercise was considered a success in the eyes of the 4th Fighter Wing leadership.
“It was a great experience that everyone, including myself, learned a lot from,” said Col. Ryan Messer, 4th FW vice commander. “Being able to observe the exercise firsthand, I had the opportunity to see how adaptable our people, as service members and Americans, are. It’s not always easy working alongside members of a different branch. The different dialects, acronyms, and the different cultures can make it difficult, but I’m proud to say both sides worked as one. Watching the NCOICs and OICs quickly and effectively lead a group of members from both branches to create successful outcomes was an impressive experience."