ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Army Contracting Command's 926th Contingency Contracting Battalion bid farewell to fellow Soldiers, Family and friends during a deployment ceremony at the Ball Conference Center on APG North (Aberdeen) Nov. 6.
The ceremony honored 13 Soldiers commanded by Lt. Col. Derek Draper who will be the vanguard of an additional group assembled from across the ACC to join Operation Enduring Freedom in support of the Contingency Contracting Administration Mission Kuwait. The occasion marked "the first military contracting battalion in the history of the U.S. Army to deploy a battalion headquarters and assume a mission in a foreign country," ACC Director Bryon Young said.
The 926th Contingency Contracting Battalion was activated by the ACC-APG in 2013 with the aim of providing global contracting support to a diverse customer base in support of the Army's mission. The battalion's mission in Kuwait will encompass contracts worth approximately $6 million in in services and supplies.
"We will hold the contractors accountable to the terms and conditions of the contracts and protect the government interest, ensuring we're getting the value out of the awarded contracts," Draper said.
The emphasis on quality assurance in contract administration will allow the Army to run an intermediate staging base and to flex from their area of responsibility to any place within satellite communications.
The deployment ceremony began with welcoming remarks from master of ceremony Sgt. 1st Class Larin Harris followed by the national anthem and an invocation led by Maj. Mark Rendon, garrison chaplain resource manager. Young then gave the battalion a motivational send-off.
The battalion members "are ready to assume this mission," Young said. "We have the greatest and utmost confidence in their ability to do it."
Draper spoke about the mission's goals and had a special message regarding Soldiers' Families who will endure the upcoming holidays without their loved ones.
"I ask the APG community to continue its great support to our Families and to go that extra mile with an understanding of the burdens our Families will be shouldering while we move forward carrying out the Army's mission," Draper said. "Army Strong."
Draper and Master Sgt. Sandra Hypolite-Bernard then encased the 926th Contingency Contracting Battalion colors. The ceremony marked the last time the battalion will be together as a whole until they are redeployed to APG.
The ceremony concluded with a benediction and the playing of the Army Song. Attendees lined up and shook hands with battalion members, offering them their well wishes and gratitude.
"I can wish you only the best of luck and God speed," Young said. "Thank you for what you are doing. We're all proud of what you have done."
The deployment ceremony's distinguished guests included APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton, CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. William Bruns, CECOM Chief of Staff Col. Charles Gibson and Maria Esparraguera, CECOM Office of Chief Counsel.