VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 1945th Contracting Team, 329th Regional Support Group returned from federal active duty and a nearly year-long overseas deployment in early March 2020.
1945th commander, Maj. Nate Seymour, and Maj. Shyra Cullins served as administrative contract officers, while Sgt. 1st Class Steven Slater, Staff Sgt. Tina Jaurequi and Sgt. Kayla Modic served as quality assurance specialists during the deployment. All served in support of the U.S. Central Command, the 408th Contracting Support Brigade, and Regional Contracting Center-Kuwait.
The team’s federal active duty began with a week-long pre-mobilization training in Texas in May 2019 before departing for Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The team arrived back in the U.S. in early March 2020, just ahead of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 travel ban.
Seymour praised his team and the work they accomplished in support of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) and other various contracts worth billions of dollars during their mission.
“We accomplished everything that was thrown at us,” said Seymour. “I was very pleased with how all the team members performed, and I think our battalion and brigade command were both pleased with everybody and were quite impressed with what the National Guard brought. The National Guard typically brings some skill sets and a knowledge base that active duty doesn’t have.”
A contracting team is a five-person unit that can provide contracting support for deployed units, acquiring goods and services from the commercial sector, stateside or overseas. However, the team wasn’t always together during the deployment. Their highly-specialized skill sets allowed the team members to be plugged in where needed.
“One of the things that was unique about this deployment was even though we’re a team, and we’re set up so we could do all the aspects of contract administration, the way the active duty utilizes us once we fall in, they break us up based on our skill sets and any need at the time,” explained Seymour. “Even though the teams deploy together and redeploy together, they don’t necessarily fill all the same slots.”
While filling various ACO and quality assurance roles, the contracts the team supported spanned from logistical and installation support across multiple countries to communications and operational support affecting nearly all Soldiers and civilians throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
Seymour was the ACO managing LOGCAP IV during the deployment. Slater supported LOGCAP while assigned to Camp Redleg in the United Arab Emirates, and Modic supported LOGCAP at several locations in Kuwait. Cullins served several roles in Kuwait, serving as an ACO and Lead ACO on contracts valued in the billions of dollars. Jaurequi provided quality assurance for the Army Prepositioned Stock contract, and also volunteered as a battalion equal opportunity leader.
“It’s definitely different from a line unit’s deployment because our reach is so much greater,” said Seymour. “It’s also kind of unseen to some extent, because things just happen and they’re just there. We definitely got called out in the middle of the night and at all hours to solve problems and make sure things ran smoothly for the people that depended on those services.”
Prior to the deployment, the 1945th spent countless hours away from their families training and gaining experience in preparation for their overseas mission. That training and experience, including school courses and Active Duty Operational Support assignments, proved vital for the team, as did the support of the Virginia National Guard.
“I think we gained an appreciation for Virginia’s preparation and the support we got leading up into the deployment, based on seeing what other states were provided and not provided,” said Seymour. “Virginia definitely did support us getting us to the schools we requested and supported us for the ADOS we requested, and it definitely helped once we were there.”
The 1945th CT obtained federal recognition July 21, 2009, and previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.
The 1945th CT is one of two contracting teams in the Virginia Army National Guard. The 1940th CT is also based in Virginia Beach.