ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait – The long awaited renovated Desert Winds dining facility opened to the public June 29, 2022, and its handiwork highlights the teamwork of various groups involved, from civil engineers, to the contracting squadron and multiple contractors.
Tech Sgt. Xavier Morris, with the 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron’s base operational support and service flight, detailed how quickly the BOSS flight was able to work with the local vendors to source equipment in a very short timeframe.
“[Sourcing was swift] because of our direct contacts and willingness to work with local vendors, bring them on base, coordinate the effort to get their transport, and through security, ensure they’re all qualified to be able to work with the government,” said Morris.
In addition to building trustworthy relationships with local vendors on projects, the contracting squadron also hosted vendor’s days, where they held an expo showcasing vendor-military relations, connecting the local populace to opportunities on base, and educating them on the process to get approved to compete for contracts.
“One of the main drivers behind renovating the facility was that it was deficient in fire suppression,” said 1st Lt. Cade MacArthur, 386th Civil Engineer Squadron, “In addition to overall improvement it also acts as a good statement piece for an enduring presence here, to help kind of strengthen the partnerships we have with the host nation, to show our investment, and to ensure mutually beneficial defense for the nation of Kuwait and the U.S.”
As the facility became more upscale and efficient, the Air Force worked alongside the Army Corps of Engineers as well as contractors to get the DFAC operational and ready to feed thousands of U.S. and coalition forces.
“There’s a lot of really amazing coordination between the contractor and the government, this is the best hand-in-hand work I’ve seen between contractor and military members getting a facility up and running,” said MacArthur.
“The process for contracting can be complex because there are a lot of steps that go into any project,” said Morris. “So when the 386th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron came to us with a new dining facility requirement, as our mission partners, we helped them with their needs around the base.”
It also serves as a morale booster, as Airmen move from dining out of an expeditionary facility to an enduring one.