POSNAŃ, Poland –
Within the 405th Army Field Support Brigade, noncommissioned officers play a critical role in operationalizing U.S. Army Materiel Command capabilities to deliver anticipatory readiness at the tactical point of need.
One of those NCOs is Master Sgt. Roxanne Richards. Richards delivers readiness as the only Logistics Civil Augmentation Program NCO in Europe. The program she is assigned to, known as LOGCAP, provides base support and sustainment services contracting support to deployed forces during contingency operations and large-scale exercises like DEFENDER-Europe 21.
Richards, who holds the military occupational specialty of contracting specialist, reclassified into the MOS as a senior noncommissioned officer in 2014 through the Army’s prior service accessions program.
“LOGCAP is an Army program. Different contractors are assigned to use that program as a vehicle to get the Army the things it needs,” said Richards, who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and graduated high school there before coming to the U.S. to attend college. “People sometimes think that LOGCAP is a contractor, but LOGCAP is not an entity in and of itself.”
Richards, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and French from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, also held three other MOSs before becoming an Army contracting specialist.
“I was a generator mechanic assigned to an air defense artillery brigade. I was an engineer who deployed to Iraq in 2003 with an engineer company that laid the longest operational pipeline in the history of the United States Army – 225 miles of pipe. And I was an administrative specialist,” said Richards.
At the 405th AFSB, Richards initially served as an administrative contracting officer with LOGCAP. As an ACO, Richards was responsible for ensuring that all contracts remained in compliance with all the government’s contracting requirements.
But as a LOGCAP professional in Poland, “I get to be the liaison – if you will – between the contractors and the requiring activities,” she said.
Because she knows what the end result is supposed to look like from her experience as an ACO, Richards said she can assist the units and activities with presenting their requirements to the contractors, and with her assistance the contractors are able to easily translate what the government is asking for and provide what is required efficiently and cost effectively.
“We want to get the best value for the government. That’s always the end goal,” she said.
“The Soldiers are the ones who are out there on the receiving end of what we provide,” said Richards, who also holds a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston. “If the training environment is good for the Soldier, then the Army receives the benefit of the Soldier having been properly trained with the best equipment in the best environment. We help provide the right conditions for the Soldiers so they receive the maximum benefit of the training.”
Richards has been assigned to the 405th AFSB as a LOGCAP professional for just six months, but during that time she has done a lot. She was deployed to Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania for 6 weeks. She was assigned to the brigade headquarters in Kaiserslautern, Germany, for a period of time. And now she is based in Poland and responsible for all the LOGCAP contracting requirements for Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Poland. And during DEFENDER-Europe 21, her responsibilities extent to Estonia, as well.
“I think that Poland is likely now my permanent assignment where I will work all the LOGCAP contract requirements for this entire area of operation,” said Richards, who is an Active Duty Operational Support-Reserve Component Soldier with the 405th AFSB. Her Reserve parent unit – located in Aberdeen, Maryland – is the 915th Contracting Battalion.
When she’s not serving, she said she enjoys traveling. The Army has sent her to Iraq twice, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Afghanistan but she said her time in Romania, Germany and Poland has been the most enjoyable.
“Here, I’ve actually had a chance to visit numerous cathedrals. I’m Catholic so I’m fascinated by them. It’s nice to walk around and see quite a few of them here in Poland,” Richards said.
“I love to travel so much I had a part-time job working for an airline. I recently retired from United Airlines. Because the airlines had been impacted so badly by COVID-19, they offered a lot of severance packages, so I took one,” said Richards.
“And thanks to the Army, I’m still traveling,” she said.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.