DVIDS – News – Soldier’s past drives his passion to support US partner communities in Europe and Africa

WIESBADEN, Germany – Standing in front of what will be a new kindergarten for more than 50 children and staff in the small village of Drugovac, Serbia, U.S. Army Master Sgt. Betsy Weintraub realized her career was over.

Non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Europe district, Weintraub grew up in a poor community in Cuba and attended a school located in conditions similar to those of the Serbian school that she and the district will help renovate.

“It reminded me so much of Cuba, how everything was deteriorated and in a poor area,” Weintraub said. “And then knowing the end result of what we’re going to build… what a huge impact! “

USACE recognized Weintraub as its Fiscal 2020 Procurement Excellence Awards Program – NCO of the Year at an online ceremony on December 9.

Contract Specialists bridge the gap between the skills, talents and capabilities of the industry and the range of needs of the U.S. military. These requirements are outlined in a contract that involves advertising, competition, negotiation and award, as well as performance monitoring before completing the job. Depending on the extent of the work, this process can take weeks, months or even years.

“Master Sergeant Weintraub demonstrates everything we look for in an NCO, and she is the epitome of an effective contracts professional,” said Col. Patrick J. Dagon, USACE Europe District Commander. “USACE and our stakeholders around the world have benefited immensely from his talents and passion to serve. “

In fiscal 2019, Weintraub personally conducted over 70 contractual actions worth over $ 75 million in support of European District missions at 45 locations in Europe and Africa. These projects ranged from large-scale humanitarian assistance ventures to austere and functional, including military housing, medical facilities, missile defense, a combatant command operations center, defense ministry schools, barracks, communications facilities, children’s development centers and theater security cooperation projects.

Scheduled to start a new assignment in December 2020, Weintraub considers his time serving the District of Europe as one of the most rewarding and unique opportunities of his entire career due to multiple architect and engineering contracts, of construction and service that she had the opportunity to help. Arts and crafts.

“The opportunity to come to USACE is rare, and we [contract specialists] consider this as something extremely key in our development, ”she said.

USACE’s diversity in contracting opportunities reflects its unique and broad range of global U.S. national defense support, providing contracting specialists with a degree of training not found in other units in the United States. ‘army.

“Once assigned to USACE, [a contract specialist’s] development is taken to a new level where they have the opportunity to master the skills of military construction, architect-engineer and provide support for emergency contracts, ”said Col. Robert J. Miceli, chief USACE Contracts Assistant.

While Weintraub says the award humiliates her, she is quick to point out that it represents the culmination of a career made possible only by volunteering to serve in the U.S. military, a decision she made. after immigrating to the United States from Cuba in December 1997.

“Coming from Cuba at 19 [years old] in a new country with a new language and a new culture … and leaving my family behind … it was one of the toughest decisions of my life. “

But a few months after arriving in the United States, she was drawn to the United States military by an advertisement promising her the chance to “Be All You Can Be.”

In June 1999, Weintraub enlisted in the US military as an automated logistics specialist. Then, in 2010, while serving in Bamberg, Germany, her brigade commander, Lt. Col. Clifford M. Serwe, approached her to become a “51-Charlie (51C)”, which is a code. career for a contract specialist.

“She was the glue that held our command group together,” said Serwe, now a civilian and deputy director of disposition services at the Defense Logistics Agency North East in Richmond, Virginia. “She was incredibly hardworking, loyal and had impeccable integrity.”

Shortly after this encounter with Serwe, she found herself in a contract specialist course at what was then called Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, one of only two Army students in the class. .

To be considered for this military occupational specialty, a soldier in the United States Army must have achieved the rank of sergeant or master sergeant, be selected by competition, and obtain a bachelor’s degree. Weintraub met these requirements, graduated, and entered the US Army Acquisition Corps.

Since becoming a contracting NCO, her trip to the District of Europe has taken her to the 620th Emergency Outsourcing Team in Rock Island, Illinois; a deployment to Afghanistan with the 902nd Contracting Contingency Battalion; USACE’s Huntsville Center in Alabama; and an expanded assignment as a contract career advisor in Fort Knox, Ky.

She also completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree within six years of transitioning to a contract specialist and was recently promoted to Master Sergeant.

Today, she is the NCO of the Year for the USACE Contract Excellence Awards program for FY2020.

“What distinguished Staff Sgt Weintraub in his selection for this year’s USACE 51C NCO of the Year was his unmatched ability to see the strategic picture, to anticipate the challenge with second-hand effects. and third order, and translate all of this into transparent tactical execution for our stakeholders, ”said Miceli.

“Winning something like this is really a testament to the American Dream. You can do whatever you want in the United States,” Weintraub said. “I owe a lot of my accomplishments to the unconditional support of my family and the great mentors and leaders I have had throughout my career.”

As Weintraub reflects on the journey she’s taken, she also looks forward to her next posting to the US Army Contracting Command in Huntsville.

“Joining the military has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career,” Weintraub said.

“I love my job. I love contracting. I love changing people’s lives.”

Date taken: 12.10.2020
Date posted: 12.10.2020 09:58
Story ID: 384642
Place: WIESBADEN, IL, DE

Web Views: 138
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