TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As the recovery efforts continue after Hurricane Michael, two squadrons at Tyndall lean on each other to bring mission functions and quality of life for Airmen back to the Panhandle installation.
The 325th Contracting and Comptroller Squadrons, familiar bedfellows, strengthen their relationship through the need to return to normalcy as the premier location for the future of air dominance.
“The 325th CONS and 325th CPTS work hand-in-hand,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Powell, 325th CONS contract specialist. “We receive requirements from customers and finance works to certify the funds in order for us to purchase those requirements. Our squadron is divided into four different flights that serve specific functions and have specific areas of responsibilities: the Base Support Flight, the Tenant Support Contracts Flight, the Base Infrastructure Flight and the Plans and Programs Flight. The span of our duties on the installation are far reaching and touches almost every foot of the base.”
Both squadrons conquer all their mission objectives through what can be viewed as a symbiotic relationship with a series of checks and balances to ensure proper stewardship of taxpayers’ money.
“If contracting didn’t exist, the budget side of the house wouldn’t have much of a job,” said Staff Sgt. David Simmonds, 325th CPTS financial analyst NCO in charge.
“Without the contracting squadron, we wouldn’t have anyone to provide funding to. Contracting is the shopper is, and we are the wallet. A wallet without a shopper is useless, and a shopper without a wallet can only browse,” he explained.
Powell later reinforced Simmonds’ sentiment of the importance of the two squadrons working together.
“Although we review and award contracts after fair competition among contactors, the 325th CPTS holds the power of the purse,” he elaborated. “We ensure all contracts are legal and binding, and they ensure the financing to complete jobs is provided swiftly and without delay. If either one of our squadrons did not work closely together, our workload would diminish significantly – if not cease completely.”
The review of potential contracts and appropriation of funds does not fully fall on the 325th CONS, the 325th CPTS also does their own internal review to maintain fiscal responsibility.
“We make sure that funding is available, and the correct funding is used,” Simmonds said. “Funding avenues vary, from legal aspects, when you can use them. We also make sure funding is captured in the right program. This way the big Air Force knows what we are spending our money on down to the dollar.”
Both parties agreed that their already ironclad bonds were even more tempered in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, as the need to safeguard the installation, assets and personnel were paramount days after the storm.
“It has been a lot of last-minute projects, a lot of ‘We need money for this right now.’” Simmonds said while reviewing a spread sheet of work that had already been accomplished. “It’s been exciting to say the least to get things in and fund some of the larger projects.
“For example, the base fence, people don’t understand how big of a priority that was for the wing commander,” he continued as he tapped his pen on his computer monitor. “Re-securing the installation after the fence was completely destroyed, 17.8 miles of fencing redone was one of the bigger projects we took on with CONS.”
Powell then switched gears from security to amenities slated down the line as Tyndall stays true to their pledge to maintain the welfare of the Air Force’s most valued asset – the Airmen.
“Although the mission to train and project unrivaled combat air power is the first and foremost thing on our minds, you cannot forget to take care of Airmen and their families,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “This is done by bringing back the niceties of the installation that added to the desirability for Airmen to come to Tyndall. One of the latest things we’re working on is a bowling alley. I look forward to the completion of this because it feels good to actually see Airmen smiling, having a good time considering the circumstances and how that added morale can contribute to the base’s mission.”
As both squadrons continue to provide a path forward for not just today’s mission, but forthcoming potential innovations, their bond plainly demonstrates how Airmen come together to achieve the mission, planting the seed for the Tyndall of tomorrow.