Contracting officer gains valuable experience during Iraq duty
Maj. David McDowell is welcomed home during a ceremony at the Amelia Earhart facility in Wiesbaden after duty in Iraq.

WIESBADEN, Germany - Working with civilians all day can detrimentally affect a Soldier's edge.
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At least that's how one contracting officer felt before volunteering for a six-month tour of duty to Iraq.
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"As a military guy in a civilian organization you tend to lose focus of what we're doing here," said Maj. David McDowell, Defense Contract Management Agency Southern Europe contracting officer, who deployed to Northern Iraq in February. "I deployed to get reoriented to the mission of a contracting officer. Seeing Soldiers on the ground, carrying weapons, I was tuned in the first week in theater."
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While in Iraq McDowell was the contracting officer responsible for the $6 billion, annually funded Logistics Civil Augmentation Program that provides critical services to warfighters in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He ensured the terms of the services contract with KBR.
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"In contingency everyone needs stuff now. ... I told the contractor what to do and provided the funding," said McDowell, who said he worked an average of 14-15 hours daily during the deployment. "(As a contracting officer) I'm there to make sure the Soldier has all he needs so he can focus on the mission."
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And while few people elect to deploy out of rotation, the timing seemed ideal for McDowell and the Army.
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"It was a good time to go back into that environment to get plugged back in," said McDowell, who said his efforts supported the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq having a hand in the closing of Forward Operating Bases Normandy, Grizzly and O'Ryan which encompassed the reduction of services and disposition of 3,000 lines of property valued at more than $15 million resulting in early closures and savings of more than $10 million.
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Upon his departure from Iraq, McDowell reported that he saw confident and competent Iraqi forces assuming more control.
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"It was a good level of morale. People were getting things accomplished ... and people were ready to go home," said McDowell.
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McDowell received the Joint Service Commendation Medal after his return to Wiesbaden.

Page last updated Tue September 28th, 2010 at 11:34