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Honoring Lieutenant Colonel John L. Coombs

Rep. Steven J. Chabot

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Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor and acknowledge Lieutenant Colonel John L. Coombs who has served this great Nation in the U.S. Army since 1989, most recently as the Acting Director of Operational Contracting Support and Policy with the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement.

John L. Coombs enlisted as a Private and began his Army career as a Light Infantryman with the 7th Infantry Division in Fort Ord, California. He was soon recommended for and graduated from the Officer Candidate School where, in 1992, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Chemical Corps. As a Chemical Officer, he served as a Battalion and Brigade Chemical Officer in artillery, cavalry, and aviation battalions and brigades for the 1st Armored Division in Germany and the 1st Cavalry Division in Texas. In 1995, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as the nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance platoon leader. There he developed tactics, techniques, and procedures to detect environmental hazards at industrial sites occupied by U.S. forces, leveraging the capabilities of the mobile mass spectrometers installed in the nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance vehicles.

In 2001, Captain Coombs was accessed into the Acquisition Corps, attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and in 2002 graduated with a Master of Science in Business with an emphasis on federal contracting. From 2002 to 2005, as the Contracting Division Chief in the Wiesbaden Contracting Center for the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Europe, Captain Coombs supervised more than 30 contracting officers who awarded and administered more than $400 million in annual contract awards. He deployed to Kosovo for six months as the Chief of a Joint Contracting Center, where he led a joint military staff, U.S. civilians and Kosovar nationals to procure $5 million in annual contract awards. While in Kosovo, his work helped to improve multi-national relations when he negotiated a complex settlement for damages to a hotel occupied by NATO forces. The following two years, Major Coombs served as the Deputy Chief of Office in the Italy Regional Contracting Office for U.S. Army Contracting Command, Europe. He oversaw high visibility procurements including letter contracts to lease properties supporting the 2006 Winter Olympics security operations in Torino. He was named the Army Europe Contracting Officer of the year in 2005. An Army fellowship at the RAND Arroyo Center in Santa Monica, California brought this Hamilton, Ohio native back to the U.S. There he developed RAND's recommended acquisition strategy for Future Combat Systems to balance cost control for the Army and risk to the contractor. Since 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Coombs has been assigned to Army Headquarters at the Pentagon. He has served as the Executive Officer, Deputy Director and several senior positions in the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement. His expert knowledge of operational contracting policy for military operations, natural disasters and humanitarian relief has been invaluable.

Mr. Speaker, for more than two decades, Lieutenant Colonel John L. Coombs has faithfully served our Nation as a dedicated steward for American taxpayers. As he enters this next phase of his life with his beloved wife Kellie and their four children; Lyndsay, Adam, Emily and Jesse; I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Lieutenant Colonel John Coombs upon his retirement and thank him for his service in the U.S. Army.