JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — Personnel from the 904th Contracting Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia, are supporting units by providing both supplies and capability to state and local authorities to help combat COVID-19 in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Lt. Col. Torrionne Reché, the 904th CBN commander, and Maj. Jerry Andes, the battalion operations officer, are providing business advice to Army, Air Force and Navy units operating New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and assisting in the procurement of COVID-19-related supplies and services as well as base life support contracts. Base life support services are being executed for those responding and mobilizing with the Army North Task Force-Center/46 and Navy Expeditionary Medical Forces-Mike staged at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and the Mid-City Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Baton Rouge.
Reché, Andes and the 904th CBN team at Fort Stewart are busy daily working COVID-19 requirements for lodging, transportation and basic life support services as well as performing contract administration on existing contracts.
“We are providing critical basic life support services and sharing our expertise in securing contracts for supplies and services with units that are strategically located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge,” Andes, who is the lead contract support officer, said.
Joshua Fejeran and Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Slate are the contracting officers for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Stewart COVID-19 Response Contracting Cell, which also consists of the 611th Contracting Team and select members of the 601st CT. This cell works all assigned COVID-19 related contracting actions in support of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia as well as Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The 904th CBN also has two additional teams standing by to move forward if needed.
Recently, the unit processed a request for 500 oxygen concentrators in support of Wynn Hospital, 3rd Infantry Division and the Fort Stewart garrison.
Due to the pandemic, there are many challenges with finding medical supplies and equipment.
“Every medical supplier in the nation is scrambling to source oxygen related breathing devices, so finding vendors that can fill large orders is a challenge,” said Rechè, who is supporting the 377th Theater Sustainment Command operational contract support integration cell with planning and coordination efforts. “Manufactures around the nation are churning out devices as fast as they can but it takes a while before the supply can meet the demand. Current knowledge of the market and constant communication with industry is vital to success of any acquisition.”
The fight against the virus is a team effort, and Rechè and Andes depend on reach back support from their unit back at Fort Stewart.
“We have a resilient team of young vigilant 51C NCOs and talented officers who in tandem with the experienced purposeful acquisition professionals of MICC-Fort Stewart are ready to support any COVID-19-related requirement in Georgia or Louisiana,” Rechè said. “They understand the need for haste and use the FAR and its various supplements to implement solid and efficient business practices.”
While supporting their team members in Louisiana, the unit has continued to stay engaged with local mission partners despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented. The MICC-Fort Stewart contracting office has procured information technology equipment, which has enabled other organizations to meet its mission by teleworking. In addition, it has procured hand washing stations to protect the force and the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield communities.
“The entire MICC-Fort Stewart and 904th CBN team has done a remarkable job executing the mission via telework. We have employed the available technology to effectively interact internally and engage external mission partners in a safe manner without missing a beat. The team is aware of the importance of everyone contributing despite the current challenge and understands that every ounce (of effort) counts.” Rechè said.