Contingency contracting officers from the 409th Contracting Support Brigade played a key part in the success of a U.S. Army-led multinational exercise in Europe.

The unit's 642nd Contingency Contracting Team's contracting support for Sab1e Strike4 included the completion of an unmanned aerial vehicle runway at the Adazi Training Area in Latvia.

"We were purchasing materials that would lead to the construction of the first-ever Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Runway in Europe," said Capt. William P. Bass, contingency contracting officer, 642nd CCT, 928th Contingency Contracting Battalion, Grafenwoehr, Germany, "This runway brings the capability to exercise close air support assets in a joint multi-national environment."

"The UAV runway was a project that the U.S. European Command had been planning since 2011 and had the interest of U.S. ambassador of Latvia, Mark Pekala; U.S. Army Europe commanding general, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell; the Latvian Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube and other dignitaries from the Latvian Ministry of Defense," said Bass.

Saber Strike spanned multiple locations throughout the Baltic States including Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania and involved more than 4,500 personnel from 10 countries. The intent of the exercise was to to train participants on command and control and interoperability with regional partners.

While supporting Saber Strike, the contracting team also coordinated support for Operation Persistent Presence in Latvia and Estonia.

"Staff Sgt. Sergio Delapena was instrumental in conducting field ordering officer training support to both Operation Persistent Presence and Saber Strike," said Bass.

A field ordering officer is an individual who has been authorized by the contracting officer to execute micro-purchases during a contingency or training environment.

"This training provided the 173rd Brigade Combat Team with the capability to purchase supplies that would sustain the force," said Bass.