72nd CONS welcomes new commander

Maj. Richard Ward, right, accepts command of the 72nd Contracting Squadron conferred by Col. James Eilers, 72nd Mission Support Group commander, during an Aug. 3 ceremony. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

Maj. Richard Ward, right, accepts command of the 72nd Contracting Squadron conferred by Col. James Eilers, 72nd Mission Support Group commander, during an Aug. 3 ceremony. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- Lt. Col. Robert Bruce relinquished command of the 72nd Contracting Squadron Aug. 3 at the Tinker Club Ballroom. Before 75 guests, native Oklahoman and University of Oklahoma graduate Maj. Richard Ward accepted his post as the squadron's second commander.
   Previously a division within the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, the 72nd CONS became its own squadron in August 2004. The contracting squadron is responsible for presenting and overseeing more than 3,500 contracts worth more than $1 billion. Additionally, the squadron enables the installation's seven wings and 45 associate units to meet mission requirements, which includes influencing contractors to deliver quality base-level services and construction support, plus provide business solutions.
   "Maj. Rich Ward has an impressive résumé and the contracting squadron is extremely fortunate to have him take the reigns of command," said Col. James Eilers, 72nd Mission Support Group commander and the ceremony's presiding officer. "He comes to us with a great deal of experience within (Air Force Materiel Command) and an educational background that will enable him to take this flagship to new heights."
   Maj. Ward recently graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, where he was a full-time Intermediate Developmental Education student and completed a defense-focused Masters of Business Administration in Acquisition Program Management.
   Prior to graduate school, Maj. Ward was the executive officer to the director of Contracting at AFMC Headquarters, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
   "I am honored to be your commander and I intend to commit all of my energy and focus to the success of both you and our important mission," said Maj. Ward. "Tinker inspired me to join the Air Force so I can think of no better place to be than right here and right now."
   Maj. Ward commissioned into the Air Force from OU in 1993, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
   Prior to relinquishing his post, Col. Bruce received the meritorious service medal third oak leaf cluster for his service to the contracting squadron.
   "(Col. Bruce) you've done an outstanding job providing full-spectrum contracting support and you've done an outstanding job building the flagship contracting squadron," Col. Eilers said. "Thank you for keeping the team focused and on the right track."
   Col. Bruce, who retired from the Air Force Aug. 7, also addressed his squadron one last time.
   "I wish (Maj. Ward) all the best as he assumes the reigns of the organization. It's an important job with an extremely important mission and one I know that Maj. Ward is well prepared for and superbly qualified," Col. Bruce said. "The organization of the 72nd CONS is well prepared and well poised to reach even bigger heights and I know Maj. Ward will lead you there and beyond."