By Mr. Larry D Mccaskill (ACC )June 5, 2013
Lured by the faster work pace and the ability to work beside Soldiers in theater, Sonja J. Ablola said the Deployable Cadre Program is something of which she was meant to be a part.
"It's fast paced a lot of the time but the learning time or adjustment to the job time is shorter," said Ablola, a contracting specialist currently deployed to Qatar and permanently stationed at the Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Belvoir, Va. "I love seeing the results of what we do. The fact that we contribute to what is going on and provide a valuable service to the war fighters is very rewarding to me."
In Qatar, Ablola is a contract specialist working requirements for procurement and supply and is the alternate agency organization program coordinator for the government purchase card.
"I get to work in a lot more areas than when I'm back home," said the 44-year-old single mother. "This enables me to bring back more skills than I had before."
A University of Phoenix graduate currently pursuing her master's degree, Ablola said she enjoys her job and sees contracting as an integral part of the supplies and services Soldiers get whether deployed or stateside.
"I believe in what we do, both contracting and deploying, as a civilian," said Ablola, a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins. "It helps us to grow in skills we may not come in contact with at our home station and shows the Soldier that we are part of the team. This helps with the cohesiveness between Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians by establishing camaraderie and bonding. I am glad to be part of a team that promotes unity."
A firm believer in the DCP, she is currently on her second deployment.
"I am a single mom with a 15-year-old daughter, Diana Maria. During my previous deployment to Afghanistan she was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society," said the proud mother.
During Ablola's deployments, her daughter stays with her aunt and uncle.
"She isn't crazy about me deploying but she supports it," Ablola said. "She understands that this sacrifice is something that will benefit us in the long run. She also understands that it takes a team to do things for the benefit of all."
Ablola encourages young contracting specialists to become DCP volunteers as a means of expanding their horizons.
"It gives you a different perspective than your job back home. You see what you do and how important it is to the war fighter," Ablola said.