Kentucky Airmen sharpen contracting skills for disaster response

Story by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Simulated disaster relief supplies are being unloaded during a 2013 earthquake training exercise with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group. What’s not in this picture? The men and women behind the scenes arranging contracts for construction, food supplies, house and the other essentials in responding to a natural disaster. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Dale Greer/Released)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Four Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing recently participated in a multinational joint training exercise designed to test their ability to provide key contracting services during a disaster.

Kentucky Airmen sharpen contracting skills for disaster response

Senior Master Sgt. Alan Wade, base contracting officer for the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, attends a multinational training exercise for contracting officials at Fort Bliss, Texas, on Jan. 19, 2014. The course included an earthquake-response scenario that required participants to rapidly provide contracted services ranging from food and housing to construction. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kenneth Pawlak)

The exercise, held Jan. 7 to 31 at Fort Bliss, Texas, is staged annually to evaluate operational contracting support for the Secretary of Defense, NORTHCOM, ARNORTH and the service components, according to Senior Master Sgt. Alan Wade, base contracting officer at the 123rd Airlift Wing.

Wade was a part of a group of more than 500 people that included members from all the armed services, civilian entities like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and officials from France, Canada and Great Britain.

“The first two weeks covered all kinds of auxiliary training from firing your weapon to medical,” Wade said. “During the last week, an earthquake scenario was simulated. It was a contracting scenario on what you would need to purchase, how you would establish the contracting office, and how you would support the troops to respond by doing contracts for construction, food supplies, housing and all the basic needs to carry out a response to a natural disaster.

“It was a great learning opportunity,” Wade added. “There were people there that were getting ready to deploy that needed some type of training. The exercise taking place in the homeland along with the simulation made for a more familiar and immersive experience.”

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