AL ASAD, Iraq -- Third Marine Aircraft Wing units aboard Al Asad and other forward operating bases took part in Field Ordering Officer Training March 22. The objective was the training of basic contracting law to allow these Marines, Sailors and Army personnel to make purchases supporting airfield operations using local Iraqi vendors.
While deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom II, one mission of the Marine Corps is to work toward the goal of stabilization and improving the local economy, according Lt. Col. Daniel A. Pinedo, comptroller, 3rd MAW. Transfer of goods and services and purchasing supplies and materials from local sources using cash purchases should help to accomplish that mission. However, in order to make proper purchases, the servicemembers must be trained.
"We don't have the use of credit cards here. So it provides for the immediate purchase of goods, streamlining and expediting the buying process for immediate needs," said Pinedo.
Advance parties embarked and set up the equipment needed to stand up and maintain operations here. These purchases provide much-needed sustainability to help complete the mission.
"The FOOs are the stop-gap between major contracts with slower turnaround time," said the Oceanside, Calif., native.
Maj. Joseph Burroughs, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force contracting officer, traveled here to provide the training.
"The average labor rate under Saddam Hussein was around $3," he said. "Now it is closer to $10. This is wealthy considering where some of these people are coming from."
Properly using request procedures is all it takes for the FOOs to get what they need for their unit and at the same time stimulate the local economy.
"We want to maximize every dollar we spend," Burroughs said. "We have nearly 20 (ordering officers for 3rd MAW). Each one of these has $25,000 to spend on the locals for supplies and manual labor."
"This is a lot of money to inject into the economy," he concluded.