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628th Contracting Squadron modernizes units

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- Joint Base Charleston relies on various military units as well as numerous civilian contractors and subcontractors to execute the base’s airlift, sea and rail missions. While the blending of military and civilian work can be complicated and involves a great deal of regulation, the 628th Contracting Squadron makes this process seamless.

The 628th CONS supports Joint Base Charleston, including more than 60 mission partners. The squadron prepares, awards and administers contracts for construction, supplies and services with an annual value exceeding $80 million. They also train, equip and deploy contracting officers to execute contingency contracting support to operations worldwide.

From July to September this fiscal year, the 628th CONS completed over 170 contracts focusing on squadron revitalization, program improvements and mobility operations.

“The squadron is the beating heart of the United States Air Force; our most essential team,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, in a letter to Airmen. “Our vision demands squadrons be highly capable, expeditionary teams who can successfully defend our nation's interests in both today's and tomorrow's complex operating environments."

Members of the 628th CONS have focused on this priority through contracts supporting improvements in each squadron. One of the larger projects this year focused on bolstering Standardization and Evaluation Support Services here. This contract secured six full-time contractor positions for scheduling and standardization and evaluation, thus relieving some of the administrative strain on 437th Airlift Wing pilots.

“The Standardization and Evaluation Support Service contract came to my desk to ensure the pilots get the necessary help so they can focus on flying and their mission,” said Marilyn Menjivar, 628th CONS contracting officer. “I think this will set the standard for all fliers in the Air Force and help everyone in this career field.”

The 437th AW has been able to free up approximately 240 hours per week or 1,050 hours per month for aircrew to train and increase readiness due to this new contracting support.

“The impact has been dramatic and immediate,” said Lt. Col. Erin Meinders, 437th Operations Group deputy commander. “The time saved has freed up the equivalent of two full aircrews that can now be dedicated to train each day. Ultimately, this should increase my mission readiness by approximately 16 percent over a semi-annual period. It’s also increased morale because it shows our crewmembers the wing cares about the quality and frequency of their training and professional development.”

The 628th CONS also supported a 628th Medical Group initiative to modernize the manner in which patients order prescriptions. They accomplished this through researching different systems, consolidating the choices and then determining the best one to improve procedures and processes in the pharmacy.

They decided on a system, called Q-Flow, that will allow patients to go up to a kiosk, plug in their information for the prescription, provide a contact number and leave the facility. The system generates a notification for pharmacy personnel, letting them know to start working on the prescription. This new method will save service members approximately 30 minutes or more waiting in the clinic, allowing them more time to focus on their mission. The Q-Flow is slated to arrive within the next few months.

“Buying this Q-Flow system for the medical group will allow individuals to take the time that would have been spent waiting in line and use it elsewhere,” said Maj. Antony Barrios, 628th CONS commander. “Our squadron touches every mission on this base. There is not a squadron, group or wing that doesn’t receive benefits from the contracts we award.”