By Mr. Larry D Mccaskill (ACC )March 22, 2010
The 410th Contracting Support Brigade, with the support of the Expeditionary Contracting Command, continues to provide contingency contracting support to the Combined Joint Task Force in Haiti.
"Humanitarian efforts and helping those in need should always be a global priority," said Maj. Carl Oelschig, a member of the 410th CSB forward element in Haiti. "I will never forget the devastation I saw when I arrived. Nothing on television can prepare you mentally for what you experience firsthand."
The 410th element, lead by Col. Quenton Rashid, has integrated the team into the CJTF battle rhythm and is leaning forward in planning and executing the broader aspects of operational contract support. Of particular note is the publishing of a contracting officer representative management plan.
"Our efforts have not been wasted and progress has (slowly) been made," said Capt. Nancy Lewis, a contract attorney with ECC's CJTF-Haiti element. "Haitians have been fed and medical care has been provided. As we move forward (and out of Haiti), the State Department now has the ability to take over our operations and continue to help Haiti."
The quality assurance team is fully engaged in training and monitoring the management of contracts. Coordination has begun with 377th Theater Support Command for a smooth transition of contracting oversight. Coordination continues with the contracting center of excellence, Southern Command to transition appropriate roles and functions to the CSB Forward element.
According to Kristin Vollbrecht, budget officer, CJTF-Haiti/J8, none of the troop sustainment items vital to accomplishing the humanitarian assistance/disaster response mission would have been contracted for and obtained without members of the 410th's element on the ground.
"Their ability to adapt to a new culture/country and still accomplish their mission while complying with all of the requirements amazed me," said Vollbrecht. "There were language barriers, price gouging, logistics problems and other things that this office overcame. Without their direct interaction with the vendors in Haiti, we could not accomplish the Operation Unified Response mission. They are invaluable."