by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/15/2016 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Working with the local community is vital in accomplishing the mission of the 48th Fighter Wing.
Case in point, the 48th Contracting Squadron saved $150,000 with just one transaction by contracting a local vendor.
"Our efforts to source contracts locally significantly improve our
relationship with the U.K. and our local community," said Maj. Robert
Yates, 48th CONS commander. "For starters, there's the economic impact
of injecting over £16 million into the U.K. last year alone. However,
it's not only the local business owners that benefit from money being
spent locally; many people in the local community are contract employees
that drive through the gates of RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall every
morning to work. These individuals are vested in what U.S. visiting
forces do because they help contribute to our mission day in and day
The contracting squadron has been working to educate local vendors about
the processes necessary to work with the U.S. Air Force by meeting up
with them face-to-face at vendor fairs.
Setting local businesses up with the capabilities to work with RAF
Lakenheath has opened up local vendors' options to work with U.S.
agencies all across Europe.
Claire Hammond, 48th CONS contracting officer, experienced meeting,
several years ago, with local vendors who had small companies that she
has seen thrive from the business they were able to generate with the
U.S. government, starting with RAF Lakenheath.
"They are not just getting business from us, they are sending orders out
to Aviano [Air Base, Italy] and Ramstein [Air Base, Germany], but they
are vendors who are 15 miles from the base here," Hammond explained.
"It's nice seeing these companies start from not much and then flourish
because we have a lot of business we'd like to give them and they are
willing to take it on," said Esther Hamilton, 48th CONS contract
In return for the benefits local companies have experienced, they have
extended themselves to help the U.S. Air Force accomplish its mission at
"We've built such good relationships with local companies that they are
willing to keep their doors open late," Hamilton said. "They're willing
to stay till midnight in case we have any last minute things that we
need to buy."