By David Bedard
, 176th Wing Public Affairs
The 176th Mission Support Group Contracting Office earned the National Guard Bureau’s Mission Execution Contracting Team Award.
Efstathia Fragogiannis, NGB executive director of acquisitions, annually recognizes the contributions of the contracting and cooperative agreement National Guard Enterprise professionals within the 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia that have singularly and collectively achieved exceptional success during the previous fiscal year across 20 different categories.
The 176th Mission Support Group Contracting Office, along with their counterparts in the 168th Mission Support Group at Eielson Air Force Base, earned the award in recognition of their exceptional service in support to the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office-Alaska.
The Mission Execution Contracting award honors contracting units that have increased the annual volume of contract awards in support of their units, significantly improved the turnaround time of approval documents, and completed non-programmed or emergency procurements in an expedited manner to further mission execution.
Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Conner Van Fossen, 176th MSG senior contracting officer, said one of the hurdles his office overcomes is acclimating to Army procedures used by USPFO-Alaska’s joint office.
“Even though we’re Air Guard, we follow the Army contracting regulations, which makes it kind of complicated because there are Air Force instructions that have different requirements than what the Army does, and that can be a challenge for someone like me crossing over from active duty,” he said.
Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. Willie Davis, 176th MSG contracting officer, said the office, which also includes Master Sgt. Zachary Gowin and Staff Sgt. Martin Khan, completed 51 projects valued at $3.8 million in support of 176th Wing as well as regular Air Force Total Force Initiative partners 3rd Wing.
Because the lion share of purchases are carried out by unit-level government purchase cardholders, Van Fossen said his office provides a tremendous amount of education, guidance and oversight to ensure taxpayer money is efficiently spent. He said the office’s work bringing the GPC program management into the wing has streamlined compliance for unit cardholders while greatly improving customer service.
Van Fossen said the office initiated eight construction contracts worth $1.4 million in support of 176th Civil Engineer Squadron projects, including a 176th Air Defense Squadron concrete pad, aircraft mooring points, construction of a munitions facility, canopy installation, various hangar repair projects, and backup power generation.
The major said his office partnered with the Regular Air Force’s 766th Enterprise Sourcing Squadron to support Agile Combat Employment exercises at the remote King Salmon Air Force Station.
“Our relationship with the 766th really helped with the exercise, since they manage that site,” Van Fossen said. “We were able to work with them and get contract support for over 200 personnel to exercise ACE.”
In an effort to greatly increase winter safety for 144th Airlift Squadron Airmen, Van Fossen said the office procured C-17 Globemaster III anti-skid kits, which allowed 176th Maintenance Group to refurbish the fleet with appropriate surface coatings to allow safe transit of cargo.
The office awarded a contract for stress vests, which provides 176th Security Forces Squadron with a lower-risk and low-cost pain-based non-kinetic training package, greatly increasing the realism of training, Davis said. The vests use electric shock to simulate round strikes and injuries.
In an effort to increase occupational health and save money during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis said the office completed an innovation project for a disinfectant generator, allowing the 176th Wing to make its own sanitizer.
“It’s really driven by Sergeant Gowin, Sergeant Davis and Sergeant Khan because they’re really the face of the contracting office,” he said. “Because Sergeants Gowin, Davis and Khan are working most of the service contracts and the commodities, they interface a lot more of the customers in the wing.”