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Contingency Contracting Officers — Unsung Heroes

Patrick AFB, Fla. -- Most of you are very familiar with the impact our 45th Contracting Squadron's (45 CONS) civilian and military professionals make on our wing and mission partner mission.

This recent end of the fiscal year highlighted many mission-critical contract requirements that 45 CONS ensured were prepped and executed before midnight on 30 September.

However, there's more to Contracting than home station mission support; we also train and deploy Contingency Contracting Officers (CCOs) Worldwide.

Whether it is food service, perimeter fencing or vital aircraft parts for US, Coalition or Iraqi and Afghan forces, the critical CCO is on site to make sure the mission gets done. Like other Patrick squadrons, high deployment ops tempo is a constant for 45 CONS as we support our nation's current contingencies on the frontlines; however, this comes at an enormous sacrifice to our CCOs and their families.

Currently, our Air Force CGO and enlisted CCOs are deploying on a 1:1 six-month deployment/dwell timeframe. As the service providing 70% of the Department of Defense's CCO's, this is simply a reality, and our CCOs have continually answered the call, exemplifying the Air Force core value of "Service before Self." In two years, 45 CONS' CCOs awarded or managed over $5 billion in vital contracts for the warfighter, and the impact has been astounding.

Here's just a sampling:

At Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, a Patrick CGO was the sole assigned CCO for the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan. This remarkable Lieutenant singlehandedly provided contracting support for 2,600 special ops forces with 300 contracts worth $24 million. This Air Force "wuss" then beat these Army Special Forces to win the Task Force's Physical Fitness Challenge!

Another Patrick CCO deployed to Iraq led a squadron-sized flight in support of the Army's $5 billion Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract; everything from food and shelter to bathrooms for 15,000 US and Coalition forces. As you can imagine, this was a massive job, managing the Multi-National Forces most critical support contract with operations at 7 sites throughout Iraq; as expected, this young CCO performed with distinction.

Currently, we have three CCOs deployed in various places around the globe in support of US and Coalition forces, with three more soon to deploy. They are our unsung heroes supporting Patrick and our Nation's contingency operations.