CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Airmen from the 27th Special Operations Comptroller Squadron and 27th Special Operations Contracting Squadron finished an exercise at Cannon last Friday.
The mock deployment tested unit cohesion as well as the units’ ability to manage efficiency in high-stress situations together as both contractors and finance specialists.
“We go through contingency contracting training that gives us a view on possible outcomes in different scenarios,” said Tech. Sgt. Gregory Fortenberry, 27th SOCONS contingency support cell NCO-in-charge. “We ensure that our members take part and understand applying the training they’ve been doing the last six months. All those PowerPoint slides and day-to-day training we do is getting put to work.”
Simulating a deployed environment, both units were tasked with handling day-to-day situations that happen in those locations, such as dealing with locals on financing certain events and items, ensuring people on-base receive the correct amount of money and going into the surrounding communities to purchase items for servicemembers on-base. While some of these events are done individually, most required both finance specialists and contractors to work together.
“A lot of our training we do, between finance and contracting, isn’t intermingled,” Fortenberry said. “What this training does is replicate the real nature of deployments, which is that finance and contracting are side-by-side, working to make sure the mission is taken care of.”
According to 1st Lt. Howard Shao, 27th SOCPTS deputy flight commander, the white cell (non-participants that run the exercise) separated Airmen into different groups, attempted to balance them out and tasked them to find solutions to situations they created throughout the three-day training event. It pushed them out of their comfort zones to accomplish the objective.
“Personally, I think I’m gaining how to brief the wing commander; it was the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done,” Shao said. “I’m also learning how to properly request for funds. I can’t just ask for millions of dollars without giving appropriate reasoning for it. Whether it was to build this gym, or fund more water coming into the base.”
The exercise ended with Col. Stewart Hammons, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Hope Skibitsky, 27th SOW command chief, visiting the hangar both units were embedded in. They gave awards to the top performing Airmen for both units, and highlighted the importance of their impact on the mission, whether it was in a deployed environment or at Cannon.