Spotlight On...Kathy Valentine
July 26, 2011
Q: Name, position, series, years with government and years with ACC?
A: Kathy Valentine, Contracting Officer, 1102, 13 years with the Government and 5 years with ACC.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: What I like most about my job is the diversification of the work. No two days deliver the same experiences here in theater. Every action utilizes a different skill-set at various levels and each day lends itself towards teaching me something new.
Q: Why did you volunteer to serve with the Deployable Cadre Program?
A: I volunteered to serve with the Cadre program to challenge myself. It's easy to become complacent and work can sometimes become repetitive in any field. The Cadre program offered me an opportunity to take a risk, develop my skill set and function as a Contracting Officer in another contract environment. I was ready to explore another facet the 1102 career field has to offer and the Cadre program helped me take the first step. While the money is great being deployed, the knowledge you gain is priceless.
Q: Describe a day on the job in the Deployable Cadre Program? How is it different from serving stateside?
A: The day on the job is not too much different than in the states. Responsibilities vary according to how the office is structured and where the Army needs your skills so being flexible is very important. I work in an office setting with the same tools as stateside. One thing that differs from the states is the language barrier. Sometimes you will need to utilize a linguist as a third party to communicate with your vendors. Another differentiation is that attending meetings sometimes require use of your body armor.
Q: Can you share any unique or interesting experiences you encountered during your deployment?
A: An interesting experience encountered during my deployment was through a volunteer opportunity called Iraqi Kids day. During Iraqi Kids day children from neighboring villages are bought to base to participate in a "fun filled day." Missing my son, I was overjoyed to be around children for a short while and so were many others. I received a quick lesson in Arabic and a sheet of paper with translations. While some children spoke English many did not, including the sweet eight year old girl I was to mentor. Although there was an apparent language barrier, children are children and every one of them knows fun. My job was clear; as long as she’s smiling everything was ok. The two words I learned in Arabic was "no" and "peace be with you." The only word my mentoree knew in English was bathroom. We were a perfect match! We had fun doing the zip line, making flowers, bracelets and coloring. In between all the activities, my mentoree remove a trash bag from her shoe to collect items that were being handed out such as flip flops, toys, glasses etc. She also wanted extra for her relatives at home. This experience made me realize how easily it is to take the little things for granted.
Another unique or interesting experience I’ve encountered was the first time I heard a Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM). Shortly after my arrival, I was asleep in my containerized housing unit (CHU) when I heard the sound of the CRAM for the first time. I jumped up out of bed and onto my feet and just paused waiting for another sound, movement or even an explanation to this loud noise which had suddenly awakened me. It wasn’t until the next morning, a Soldier informed me of where and what this frightful sound came from and how I should have properly responded. The important lesson I learned was when you hear that sound drop on your belly to the ground.
Q: Describe what it is like to serve/work alongside the war fighter, Soldier, etc. ?
A: It has been a very fulfilling experience to work/serve alongside warfighters/Soldier that are so committed. Everyone I work with brings something unique to support the overall mission. They are an amazing group of people to work with and they treat and look out for me like one of their own. The camaraderie and team work makes me feel like I’m back in uniform at times (USMC Veteran). As a Department of Army Civilian (DAC), I spend a lot of time with the Soldiers at work, gym, DFAC etc., so I've come to know most on a personal level. Here they call it your "battle buddy," travel in pairs, never go anywhere alone. Military PT is not required for Cadre's but I participate since it's a good morale builder and stress reliever. The warfighter's dedication and commitment is unparallel, as is their willingness to go the extra mile to fill-in the gaps or assist.
Q: If you can speak directly to warfighter, Soldier, what would you say to them?
A: It has been a pleasure serving and supporting you. I appreciate you and the many sacrifices you and your families have made to defend our great nation.
Q: What do you do when you are not working?
A: When I'm not working I'm either utilizing the gym, on the internet at one the hotspots, or watching a movie on DVD. Yes, you need a DVD player.
Q: What are 5 things you absolutely could not live without while you are deployed? What are some of the things you miss?
A: Five things I cannot live without while deployed is my iPod, laptop, wigs, and internet and care packages from home. I miss my family, bi-weekly massages, shopping and the ability just to get in my car and go!
Q: Can we give a shout out to a family member for you?
A: I would like to send my love to my husband James Valentine of Philadelphia, PA and my dear son (James Valentine, Jr.) who has supported my decision to join the Cadre program and deploy. A special shout out to my second Contracting family at RCC JBB - God Bless you all!