FORT HOOD, Texas -- (Feb. 3, 2015) Members with the 418th Contracting Support Brigade cased their colors Jan. 30 at the III Corps Headquarters before an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.Brig. Gen. Michael Hoskin, commanding general of the Expeditionary Contracting Command, addressed the Soldiers and families in attendance during the ceremony."We are about to send off one our newest elements to one of the most austere environments our nation has faced," Hoskin said. "While deployed the 418th will provide theatre contracting support for the U.S. Central Command to support combat operations and assist in the mission."The 418th CSB will represent the Army as the lead service for contracting in CENTCOM and along with four supporting contingency contracting teams, will provide the contracting support for Operation Freedom's Sentinel, Hoskin said.Hoskin added that the deployment in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel marks the first time in history that every level of the ECC's organizational construct has deployed in support of a single operation. It formally marks the U.S. Army Contracting Command's entrance into the Army Force Generation process where U.S.-based units are trained, validated and ready for deployment as a single, homogenous unit."The 418th has their work cut out for them," Hoskin said. "I have no doubt that they are up for this challenge."Hoskin commended the Soldiers with the 418th CSB and Army Contracting Command for their hard work preparing for this deployment."The Soldiers standing before you today represent the incredible team the ACC has assembled and trained over the last six months," Hoskin said.Hoskin not only recognized the sacrifice the Soldiers make but also their family members."I can't say thank you enough to the family members here today and those who you represent," Hoskin said. "Thank you for your sacrifice and commitment to your Soldiers and to our Army. Those of us in uniform know that the strength of our Soldiers is our family and they deserve recognition for our ability to endure the hardships that we faced while deployed."Staff Sgt. Racheal Valdez, a contracting specialist with the 418th CSB, said she is ready to go down range to assist with the mission in Afghanistan because it is something new."Doing contracting work in the rear is completely different than it is forward," Valdez said.Operation Freedom's Sentinel is a follow-on mission after the end of U.S. combat missions in Afghanistan in December as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Operation Freedom's Sentinel entails working with allies and partners as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission as well as continuing counterterrorism measures against Al-Qaeda.The 418th CSB is one of two brigades activated as part of the integration of Soldiers with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command to perform contingency contracting in an environment including military and stability operations as well as natural disasters and humanitarian events. It was activated July 10, 2013, and is comprised of a team of more than 400 military and civilian contracting professionals.