ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - A contracting training program designed to help TACOM Life Cycle Management command interns learn the basics of Army contracting and acclimate them to their new federal careers held its second graduation ceremony Oct. 9 in the Black Hawk Conference Center here.

"It's great to recognize this training today. You are meeting all our expectations. You came into contracting at a very interesting time with the stand-up of the Army Contracting Command," said Harry Hallock, TACOM LCMC Contracting Center director.

Addressing the class, Hallock noted that as they progress in their careers the interns will learn how significant their work is.

"We stay in this profession because we love it, we know it's important, and because Soldiers' lives are at stake," Hallock said.

All of the contracting interns completed a two year program starting with a 12 week boot camp where they learned about benefits, the U.S. Army and TACOM. Interns also learned about regulatory guidance, policy and contracting tools and worked a contract action from initiation of the solicitation through contract award. During the remainder of their training, interns rotated through TACOM Rock Island's directorates. Upon completion, the interns became functional contract specialists.

Executive for contracting at TACOM LCMC Rock Island Lynn DeRoche, who oversees the site's 231 contracting employees, told the graduates that each intern class takes on a personality of its own.

"You have found relationships that will last throughout your careers. You bring enthusiasm and your appreciation of contracting challenges, and we appreciate that," DeRoche said. "We look forward to having you in contracting for a long time to come."

Each of the 17 interns in the graduating class received career counseling from Sally Husson Turke, chief of Sustainment Contracting.

"You've brought new ideas. You've challenged us and hopefully we've challenged you. I know you'll do great things," Turke said.

Boot camp instructor Deb Juhl told the class, "Teaching is exhausting but you get a lot back. I've seen the light in your eyes," she said.

Juhl and intern graduate Jonathan Anderson performed a parody of Soulja Boy's "Crank That," rapping about how the training prepared students to help Soldiers get the equipment they need.

The graduation ceremony marked the completion of TACOM Rock Island's eighth boot camp since the program started in 2005.

TACOM LCMC Rock Island's Contracting Center is responsible for contracting functions over the entire life cycle including acquisition planning, contract execution and contract management. It provides contracting support for combat vehicle armaments, training devices, chemical defense equipment, small arms, aircraft armaments, mortars, recovery vehicles, fire control systems,105-165mm cannons and the garrison installation.