409th CSB supports mission in Horn of Africa
February 21, 2012
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Deploying to locations that cover a third of the globe, members of the 409th Contracting Support Brigade, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, regularly find themselves supporting U.S. Africa Command in remote parts of the African continent.
In Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as part of the Combined Joint Task Force -- Horn of Africa, the contracting teams play integral roles in acquisition support.
"We are out to build relationships with the local populace and let them know we are a friendly force," said Master Sgt. Andres Reta, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 409th CSB team. "We are key in the support of building, remodeling, reconstructing and upgrading of a lot of schools, clinics, and wells."
Upon arrival at Camp Lemonnier, 409th team members become part of a joint military contracting community and are individually assigned to support a diffident country in Africa. The team provides acquisition support that includes acquiring construction material, transportation, camp support, as well as humanitarian efforts.
"While working in the contracting office at Camp Lemonnier, our team got to write contracts for humanitarian efforts including veterinarian civic programs that helped vaccinate animals," said Sgt. 1st Class Portia Hall, a 409th CSB team member. "I was humbled by some of the things I got to see, and to be able to support the mission in Africa was amazing, professionally and personally."
The joint environment provides contracting professionals the opportunity to learn new techniques and see how their peers are getting the job done.
"Navy supply corps officers don't get to do contracting full time so this is a very unique opportunity," said Capt. Scott Hawkins, of the U.S. Navy and the CJTF-HoA chief of contracts. "This is great experience, and it's so interesting to be able to see how other service members are doing contracting."
The team also works on humanitarian projects that support the efforts toward building a nation.