409th CSB provides training to special forces

by Maj. Chris Foster
409th Contracting Support Brigade

RAF MILDENHALL, England — The 409th Contracting Support Brigade based in Kaiserslautern sent two contingency contracting officers here recently to train Air Force Special Forces personnel on the Field Ordering Officer program. The purpose of the training is to allow operational units to procure mission critical supplies and services that cannot otherwise be obtained by the unit. The program empowers units to make purchases of less than $3,000 using cash.

“Many times there are forces in locations where the government purchase card cannot be used and only currency will be accepted by a local vendor. The FOO program gives units another method to procure necessary supplies,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kerry Weth, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 649th Contingency Contracting Team, 903rd Contingency Contracting Battalion.

The training was the result of a request made by the 352nd Special Operations Group and the Joint Special Operations Air Component — Europe and primarily Tech. Sgt. Jesse Schwarztrauber, a JSOAC-E contracting officer. 

“I was deployed to Iraq and worked in one of regional contracting offices and was familiar with the Field Ordering Officer program,” Schwartztrauber said. “However, the Air Force doesn’t have a FOO program, so I called a few people from Special Operations Command Europe who got me in contact with the 409th CSB, 903rd CCBN.”

The 352nd Special Operations Group is an essential part of the Air Force Special Operations Command based at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the U.K. The group has more than 700 Air Force personnel assigned, as well as nearly 50 personnel attached or associated as members of JSOAC-E and Detachment 2, 25th Intelligence Squadron. The group is the only Air Force special operations unit in the European Command.

During the training, the CCTs were provided an opportunity to sit in on a command brief by the JSOAC-E/352nd SOG commander, Col. McCollum, who discussed the way forward for JSOAC-E/352nd mission support in the current year and next fiscal year.

Lt. Col. Jason Miller, the incoming JSOAC-E deputy commander, expressed his satisfaction with the support.

I appreciate the support of the 409th CSB and how the FOO program could assist aircraft crews who often fly to austere locations, Miller said.

“It is important we support units in any manner we can,” said Maj. Chris Foster, the contracting officer team leader for the 649th CCT. “It was also good to work with the Air Force and good of the Air Force to seek out the Army in increasing their procurement capabilities as small units conduct their missions.”