By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeNovember 16, 2016
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (Nov. 16, 2016) Leaders from the 410th Contracting Support Brigade cased their organizational colors during a ceremony Nov. 16 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in preparation for the brigade's deployment to Qatar and Afghanistan.
The 410th CSB will assume the command and control element of Expeditionary Contracting Command-Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in December. The brigade will assume operational control from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command's 419th CSB, which returns home to Fort Bragg, N.C., later that month.
Military leaders from Army Contracting Command, MICC and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, brigade members, family and friends gathered for the casing ceremony officiated by Col. Josh Burris, the 410th CSB commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Williams, the brigade command sergeant major. This is the second deployment for the brigade since its activation in 2007. Elements of the brigade deployed to Afghanistan from August 2015 to April 2016 for which it earned its first campaign streamer.
Burris, who will assume the role as the principal assistant responsible for contracting and lead ECC-Afghanistan, praised the professionalism, commitment and selfless service of the Soldiers and civilian employee set to deploy.
"These colors are embarking again on a journey that will add another chapter to the proud legacy of those who've gone before us -- a journey in which we will do our part to support Operation Freedom's Sentinel and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan," Burris said. "Casing the colors is a bitter sweet occasion when we prepare to leave the comfort of home, but we also look forward to showing what this great team is capable of and getting on with the mission for which we have worked and prepared."
The commander went on to acknowledge the challenges faced by family members remaining behind and dedicated the support of those making up the rear detachment to look after their needs allowing deploying members of the brigade to focus on the mission. He also praised those remaining behind to sustain contracting operations.
"Just as NCOs are the backbone of the Army, I also firmly believe our Army civilians are the backbone of the Army Acquisition Corps," Burris said. "They are our teachers and mentors; they accomplish our personnel readiness, maintain our equipment, track our budget, issue contracts, and provide legal advice. They are the best of America, and they make America great."
The casing of organizational colors is an Army tradition that symbolizes the movement of a unit into a theater of operations. The 410th CSB will uncase its colors once it arrives in Afghanistan to perform its mission of providing contracting support to enhance warfighter readiness.
Operation Freedom's Sentinel is the follow-on mission for Operation Enduring Freedom in support of the Afghan government and its people. The operation's two-fold mission includes continued support of Afghan security forces and counterterrorism.
Located at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, the 410th CSB is made up of approximately 70 Soldiers and 50 civilian employees assigned to the brigade headquarters staff, 916th Contracting Battalion, Regional Contracting Center-Americas, and regional contracting offices in Miami, Soto Cano, Honduras, Bogota and Guantanamo Bay. The brigade also provides contracting oversight of the RCO-Key West, Florida.
The brigade is responsible for planning and executing contingency contracting support for the U.S. Army South in support of Army and joint operations throughout the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. It is a subordinate command to the ECC at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.