ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The Anniston Contracting Office, a tenant of Anniston Army Depot, has teamed up with the Alabama Army National Guard's 279th Army Field Support Brigade's Contingency Contracting Team to provide Soldiers with necessary training.

Three guardsmen are currently assigned to Contracting with the possibility that two may deploy overseas before their year's assignment is complete.

Maj. Allen Cheek, Capt. Chad Picket and Sgt. 1st Class Johnny Stewart will receive training in the contracting arena from Anniston's team for one year, which is required for certification.

"Contracting is a unique skill type within the Army because there are training requirements outside of the military training. You have to maintain certain certifications," said Cheek.

During his training, Cheek will serve as the interim deputy director of the contracting office, which will teach him the roles and responsibilities of a leader in a contracting office, a role his military position may require him to assume at some point in the future.

"In the short time they have been here, these Soldiers have proven themselves to be not only value-added assets to ANAD, but have fully integrated themselves into the depot operations, learning the full spectrum of acquisition operations required of a professional Army acquisition Soldier," said David Bunt, director of the Anniston Contracting Office and a lieutenant colonel in the 279th.

Cheek and Stewart arrived on depot at the beginning of October, but Picket had to complete an Army contracting course prior to his arrival.

All of this is done with an eye on ensuring the National Guard is able to perform whatever mission is required.

Cheek has seen the changes taking place throughout his 26 years of service.

"For the first 21 years of my Guard service, the Alabama National Guard was primarily comprised of signal units," said Cheek.

He said in 2007 the Army reduced its signal units and began to work with contingency contracting. Cheek joined the 279th in 2008.

In 2009, he and other members of the team deployed to Afghanistan in support of the Joint Contracting Command. Within the next year, he and two others may deploy again.

Because of the need for contracting officers and personnel, Cheek said the Army Contracting Command has become proactive in support of the training necessary for their Soldiers to achieve and maintain necessary certifications.

Stewart's time in the National Guard mimics that of Cheek. He also began his service in a signal unit. He was invited to join the 279th in Oct. 2010 and is working toward his Level I certification.

"I saw my first contract last month," said Stewart.

He is looking forward to the skills he will learn in Anniston.

"Not only will this training help me on the military side, but also in my civilian life as well," said Stewart.