49th CONS: 'Blood, guts and paper cuts!'

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sondra Escutia
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
The 49th Contracting Squadron may be one of the smallest in the 49th Wing, but for the rest of the base -- to include tenant units and the German Air Force Flying Training Center -- the squadron is imperative to mission success.

As Holloman's contract and acquisition experts, the squadron supports the purchasing and administration of all supplies, services and construction requirements on base.

With approximately 40 members, and a demanding deployment tempo, the 49th CONS still managed to meet the needs of the base in 2010, resulting in 1,114 contract actions worth more than $66.9 million -- their highest in five years.

This is one of the many feats that lead to the 49th CONS being named the 49th Wing's Small Unit of Year for 2010.

"I am extremely proud of the military, civilian and contractor personnel in our small but potent squadron," said Maj. Sean Williams, 49th CONS commander. "I know the great work my squadron does in support of the Holloman mission and tenant units ... the work my personnel accomplish on a daily basis, at Holloman and deployed locations around the world, garnered the Small Unit of the Year award."

Also among the squadron's long list of accomplishments in 2010: a $700,000 Outdoor Fitness Complex contract written within one week; a $687,000 project for aircraft shelters executed in 15 days which was critical to the Remotely Piloted Aircraft beddown; and 514 contracts executed while also returning more than $4 million to the wing through researching and finding vendors with lower quotes.

Mary Hoelscher, 49th CONS Simplified Acquisitions Team lead, said these deeds would not have been possible without a lot of hard work from the contracting team.

"Everyone works really hard," she said. "On top of that, the Airmen are on a one-to-one deployment schedule, so six here six gone, and you know that sometimes means maybe five here because they have to go to training. So not only are they buying everything, but they're also training all the time and getting ready to deploy."

One 49th CONS NCO said while it is sometimes a challenge juggling the home station mission and deployment requirements, the squadron is able to step up and meet the demands.

"I would attribute the squadron's 2010 accomplishments to the high-caliber Airmen we have been blessed with," said Tech. Sgt. Nicole Smith, 49th CONS Construction Flight/contract administrator NCO in charge. "Contracting's demanding training requirements instill a level of knowledge and confidence in our Airmen that is unmatched. Along with supportive management, we are unstoppable."

Ms. Hoelscher added that the small size of the squadron makes them closer -- almost like family.

"When it's like family, you might fight like family but you take care of each other like family and make sure that no matter what, the mission is going to get done," she said.

The squadron is separated into three different flights, each with different roles, but they work collectively as a team -- or a family -- to make sure everything Holloman needs is procured and maintained correctly, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations and public law; at the best value and price; and as quickly as possible.

The commander said the recognition of the squadron this year clearly embodies their battle cry: "49th CONS! Blood, guts and paper cuts!" and with more Airmen arriving to the squadron, he has high hopes for the future.

"An influx of cross-trainee personnel ... has been a boon to my workforce and I truly believe we will be competitive at the Major Command and Air Force levels for 2011," said Major Williams.

In the meantime, Holloman members can look in any direction on base, from everyday equipment to high-dollar construction projects, to see the fruits of the 49th CONS labor.

"The custodial workers, the civilian personnel at the dining facility, the radios that the commanders use to talk to each other, the computers on your desk," said Ms. Hoelscher. "You know, anywhere you look, you'll see something contracting bought."