Airman makes sense of dollars, coaches Oreos

Airman 1st Class Andrew Rhoades

Airman 1st Class Andrew Rhoades

Story and photo by Chris Aguinaldo

Contributing Writer

Forget the notion that contracting is only about sitting at a desk, shuffling papers and typing out email. Because that’s not the case for Airman 1st Class Andrew Rhoades, contract specialist, 647th Contracting Squadron (647 CONS), our Warrior of the Week.

The Brimfield, Ohio native recently hit the road for a site visit at the 15th Medical Group, exercising his interview skills (with an O-6, no less) and documenting a work area by taking photos.

“He is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that every customer’s needs are met, on time and on budget,” said Master Sgt. Noel E. Ramirez, acting superintendent, 647 CONS, of Rhoades.

Rhoades is among the many junior Hickam Airmen successfully taking on the demanding, important job of contracting, Ramirez said. Last fiscal year, the squadron – responsible for all commodity and service requirements for the 15th Wing (15 WG) , 15th Medical Group (15 MDG), 15th Maintenance Group (15 MXG), 15th Operations Group (15 OG) and tenant units – oversaw $40.2 million worth of contract expenditures.

“As a contract specialist, my duties and responsibilities include creating and administrating contracts for commodities and services needed to support the mission,” Rhoades explained. “This includes purchasing anything from something as small as a couple thousand dollars worth of books to a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of items needed by tactical air control parties, all the way up to a couple million dollars worth of services for doctors and physicians.”

Ramirez and the squadron depend on Airmen like Rhoades to accurately take care of these contracts, especially when every dollar counts and the federal budget is scrutinized. Ramirez is grateful for Rhoades’ dedication and willingness to improve himself through education and training.

“He consistently strives to be the best at all he does,” Ramirez said. He expects great things from this young Airman, especially as Rhoades gears up for a deployment within the next six months and his skills will be put the test.

“When deployed, my duties will include purchasing anything from life support items to runways and buildings at a forward-operating base. I will be required to go out among the locals of the area and purchase these items by utilizing competition among local vendors as much as possible,” Rhoades said. “One of the more interesting and fun aspects of my duties is that I directly impact and affect the economy not only here in the United States, but also wherever I deploy.”

But Rhoades isn’t only committed to his job.

“If I ever need to get a hold of him, I know he will be in one of two places, the gym or at work,” Ramirez said.

“Personally, I’m big on fitness. That’s my outlet,” said Rhoades, who enjoys power lifting and football. “I encourage everyone to do the same.”

By keeping in shape, you’re not only ready physically but also mentally, he shared. “It lets you blow off steam.”

In fact, he’d like to see the Air Force improve its physical training requirements, he said.

“Due to the recent necessary cutbacks, the one thing that I would change is the PT. I would increase the minimum standards and make healthy living more of a necessity, further bettering the greatest Air Force the world has ever known,” he explained.

He is even helping a dozen young athletes have an appreciation for fitness by coaching the Double Stuffed Oreos pee wee volleyball team.

“I’m very proud of them. They show remarkable sportsmanship,” he said of his team, made up of 11-12 year olds.

He remembers seeing one girl having trouble hitting the ball over the net. But through hard work and perseverance, she recently got one over the net during practice.

“She went, ‘Coach Rhoades! Coach Rhoades! I hit the ball over the net!” he said, proudly. “The kids are awesome and full of energy.”

Apparently, his supervisors feel the same way for the Warrior of the Week.

“Airman 1st Class Rhoades truly represents the values of the Air Force,” Ramirez said. “He is a great asset to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and to the U.S. Air Force.”

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Category: News