Faces From the Front for April 4, 2011 - 1st Lt. Vincent C. Cooper
Current Unit: 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade
Current Position: Contracting Officer
Current Location: Afghanistan
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Years of Service: 14
In Iraq and Afghanistan, communication capabilities are the key to successfully complete missions and to connect Soldiers with their loved ones. Without the proper equipment, communication would be unreliable and Soldiers would not be able to accomplish critical tasks or keep in touch with family and friends.
1st Lt. Vincent Cooper is currently serving in Afghanistan with the 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, where he is responsible for obtaining all the materials his brigade needs to provide communications capabilities to units throughout Afghanistan.
"I have been able to successfully request services and equipment that have increased the communications capabilities for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan by approximately 750 percent," Cooper explained. "I've also successfully requested services and equipment to support communications requirements for U.S. Forces serving in many outlying locations in Afghanistan."
Cooper obtains everything from communications wiring materials to information technology subject matter expert services for his Soldiers. To accomplish his mission, Cooper follows a detailed procurement process.
"I submit and monitor all requests for commodities, services and construction projects for the 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade," Cooper explained. "I monitor the progress of all contracts and ensure the vendors are paid in a timely manner. My duties also include ensuring that all contracts are completed as intended."
Over the course of his deployment, Cooper has managed contracts totaling over $225 million of commodities and services. This is no small job and Cooper is determined to fulfill his responsibilities to the best of his ability. He recognizes the impact of his work on fellow Soldiers.
"With the proper services and equipment, U.S. Forces are more effective. My fellow Soldiers now have a more reliable and robust communications system to complete their mission effectively," Cooper said. "My work gives us an advantage, our commanders are able to better communicate and command."
While much of Cooper's work on this tour has been office work, he has found that the skills acquired from his civilian job as a Deputy Sheriff come in handy when he ventures off base.
"As a Deputy Sheriff for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, I was amazed at how these skills were needed here. I’ve had the opportunity to direct traffic several times during my deployment, assisting the local Afghans during traffic accidents and vehicle failures," Cooper said. "It was great for the 'resource management guy' for the brigade, who never leaves his office, to just hop out of a vehicle, gain control of a situation, and bring order to chaos in a professional manner."
As his deployment winds down, Cooper looks forward to returning home to his wife, who serves as the co-chair of the 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade Family Readiness Group.
“I really miss my wife,” Cooper said. “She is an outstanding woman and I am blessed to be able to call her my wife. She does her best to support us and the Soldiers in the subordinate units. She coordinates events with the local community to ensure that we know we are loved and cared for. She is the real hero.”