By Capt. Steve Voglezon, 639th Contracting Team leaderJune 25, 2018
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (June 25, 2018) -- Behind the pageantry, festivities, pomp and circumstance, and military maneuvers of Fort Bragg's annual All American Week XXIX May 21-24 in North Carolina were the efforts by Soldiers from the 639th Contracting Team.
In a celebration to honor the Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division -- past, present and future -- division leaders invite veterans, military families and the local community to the installation. There they observe friendly competition amongst paratroopers, take part in recreational sports, induct the inaugural class of the All American Hall of Fame, and witness the jarring military might of an 82nd Airborne Review.
The 639th CT, which is subordinate to the 900th Contracting Battalion, is the primary contracting unit directly supporting the 82nd Airborne.
"The 639th Contacting Team is in a unique position as it is the only team in the 900th Contracting Battalion that is embedded with the customer," said Lt. Col. Jason Miles, 900th CBN commander. "We support the division in garrison operations and stand ready to deploy alongside them in times of contingency or conflict."
Although All American Week occurs annually, contract requirements evolve year to year, which can present challenges to the contracting officers. This year, the 639th CT was able to integrate early in the 82nd Airborne's acquisition planning process. Contract management officer Capt. Lesley Thomas attended weekly in-progress reviews early on and was able to establish acquisition teams for each contract. Additionally, Thomas assisted the customer in articulating and defining its contracting requirements, which he believes led to the overall success of All American Week.
Nonetheless, no major contracting operation is complete without a few close calls. After no vendors responded to a request for quote for certified sports officials by Staff Sgt. Anthony Bryant, 639th CT NCO in charge, he used a number of innovative techniques to award this contract on time.
"I conducted even more extensive market research and issued a number of oral solicitations to vendors with a proven track record with other government agencies" Bryant said. "I was lucky to find a Washington-based contractor that typically works with the Department of State and award them the contract."
Staff Sgt. Gregory Gunn, a contracting NCO, witnessed firsthand that revisions and contract modifications can jeopardize mission success. Gunn was charged with procuring 20 plaques for the first inaugural class of the All American Hall of Fame. Each plaque featured a legendary figure from the division's 101-year storied history, many of them having been awarded the Medal of Honor.
"This requirement was high visibility, and it honors some of the greatest Soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division's history. The plaques had to be perfect," Gunn said.
He and his acquisition team went through a series of revisions and designs with the contractor to ensure the plaque design meet requirements. In doing so, the contractor's production time was significantly reduced; however, Gunn was able to renegotiate the terms of production and issue a contract modification in time for the induction ceremony.
All American Week proved successful largely due to the efforts of the 639th CT. The team awarded nine contracts totaling more than $203,000 in value in a matter of weeks in support of this operation.
"It's a pleasure to serve the 82nd Airborne Division and the local community through our contracts, and we're look forward to doing it again next year," said Nicole Jones, a contracting officer with MICC-Fort Bragg's tenant division.
About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. The command is made up of two contracting support brigades, two field directorates, 30 contracting offices and nine battalions. MICC contracts are vital in supporting the warfighter from inception as future Soldiers, feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, enabling the preparation more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures, and easing transition to civilian life following separation and retirement.