MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The arrival of the KC-46 Pegasus will be colossal for the Air Force, but the small contracting office at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire, needed assistance to transition smoothly.
Pease’s contracting office has less than one-third of McConnell’s manpower; yet the base has the most construction projects of any Air National Guard base, which is why Airman 1st Class Philip Gray, 22nd Contracting Squadron contract administrator, left McConnell in January to lend his skills to the overwhelmed unit for the next three to four months.
Contract Airmen solicit and award contracts, work with local contractors for construction projects and ensure the government is getting the best value possible.
“Most people don't realize that everything they see on an installation was contracted for,” said Maj. Mark Wagner, 22nd CONS commander. “Computers, roads, buildings, furnishings and all the contracted support. It's a lot of work to put that together, it's built on a mountain of paperwork that few people see or appreciate but it has to happen.”
Gray is strengthening the Air Force’s total force by integrating into the Air Guard unit and paving the way for the Pegasus, which will continue providing global reach.
“Gray is a trustworthy and skilled business professional,” said Wagner. “Since he has lived the high construction contracting tempo we have around here, I knew he was ready for the challenge at Pease. I had a high degree of confidence that he would knock this out of the park, which he is.”
His tasks at Pease are similar to prior experiences. At Pease the office works extensively with the Army and performs under Army regulations, but his work with Fort. Riley, Kansas helped prepare him for the transition.
“A big difference is that it’s a joint effort with the Army,” said Gray. “Overall, the work I am doing here is pretty similar to what I would do at McConnell. The major difference is that I am working specifically on projects that pertain to the arrival of the KC-46.”
Contracting professionals arrange agreements that shape the installations that we fight from, said Wagner.
“My experience here has been absolutely amazing,” said Gray. “It’s been [insightful] seeing how another contracting unit handles similar issues that I’ve seen at McConnell. It’s [given me] a fresh perspective and reassured me to see that mindset at two different bases now.”