As a contracting noncommissioned officer, Master Sgt. Eliecer Quintero Jr. has proven himself as a combat multiplier, by applying his skills assisting Soldiers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan procuring items to get the job done. He's also helped provide the mechanisms to help villages in need of assistance in Third World countries.

In part, it's this flexibility that helped Quintero capture the 2009 Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) Contracting Noncommissioned Officer Award for Contracting Excellence.

A member of the 607th Senior Contingency Contracting Team, 410th Contracting Support Brigade, Quintero has spent more than the last 10 years in contracting. Working with the Air Force from 2004 through 2007, he saw Air Force NCOs competing in award programs for contracting, winning a few squadron level awards along the way, but didn't realize the Army had its own competition. This was the second straight year the 16-year veteran was nominated. His selection caught him by surprise. "It was great news for my family and me," he said. "I am very happy that the Army recognizes their enlisted force for the great impact we bring to the mission."

Quintero knew about the award when his supervisor at the time, Maj. John Sensley, told him about the first nomination in 2008. He was on his way to school when he learned of the second nomination.

Master Sgt. Quintero's knowledge in contracting was utilized by both the civilians and the Soldiers, said Sensley, who again nominated Quintero. "His input was requested on several occasions on many things that were foreign to our civilian workers. He lives and breaths contracting and it shows in his attitude and spirit for doing the job.

"He was my senior NCO for the 607th Senior Contingency Contracting Team," Sensley said. "As the team leader who was new to contracting, I relied on his eight years of experience to help the team achieve success. His leadership and guidance to the officers and enlisted on the team allowed us to be able to function as prolific contingency contracting officers on any missions we were given. His lessons ensured that we were prepared and could do the mission."

Observing him undertake one of the larger missions within U.S. Army South and conduct it successfully made me feel that such an undertaking should not go unnoticed. He exudes those qualities we want in our contingency contracting officers -- confidence, competence, integrity and flexibility. It was because of these things I felt that he should be honored," Senslye said.

"I was shocked when he told me I was nominated again," Quintero said. "I've never won anything at this level. It means a lot to me. I feel the award was more for the achievements of my entire career in contracting." The Panama City, Panama native thought it to be a bit ironic to win while supporting humanitarian missions as opposed to during his tours in combat areas.

"I was selected for this particular award while serving in South and Central America and the Caribbean," he said. "Working humanitarian and training missions are very rewarding to me. We are making the difference in those nations. The initiative to train other forces and work together as a team in response to disasters and emergencies are great motivators to me and my fellow Soldiers."

Quintero's transition to contracting wasn't like most.

"I was rewarded by my first sergeant for volunteering to deploy to Haiti for six months. He promised me a new job upon my return," Quintero reflected. "My first mission was to Guyana with an experienced NCO for training. Three months later I was the lead NCO for New Horizon 98 Nicaragua. My first contracting assignment was in the same office I am in now, our office name back then was mission support division. I fell in love with our mission here in the Americas from the beginning.

"The award means a lot to me," Quintero said. "I feel the award was more for the achievements of my entire career in contracting. After two deployments in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, it was ironic that I was selected for this particular award while serving in South and Central America and the Caribbean (supporting humanitarian missions)."