By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 10, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (Jan. 10, 2017) Members of the 418th Contracting Support Brigade welcomed their new command sergeant major during a change of responsibility ceremony Jan. 9 at Fort Hood, Texas.
Command Sgt. Maj. Darnyell Parker assumed responsibility of the brigade from Command Sgt. Maj. Marlon Cooper in a ceremony officiated by Col. Lynda Armer, the 418th CSB commander.
Parker comes to the brigade from the 901st Contracting Battalion at Fort Hood, where he served as the battalion sergeant major, returning last month from a deployment to Afghanistan.
"It is nothing that guides and shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make, and I have been committed to the Army ever since the day that I joined," Parker said. "My commitment contributed directly to the development and growth of me receiving the opportunity to be appointed as the 418th Contracting Support Brigade command sergeant major, and for that I am grateful. This is truly a humbling opportunity."
Parker added the opportunity to remain at Fort Hood will allow him to continue to serve the Soldiers, civilians, friends and families with whom he has fostered positive relationships over the last year.
"I have learned during my time in service that people are the most important, and I am passionate about taking care of Soldiers and civilians because they will take care of you," the Suffolk, Virginia, native said. "As the brigade command sergeant major, I will support my commander, provide top-notch support to the battalions and continue to enhance the training and readiness in order to operationalize contracting support forces to the warfighters."
Parker said he will continue to build upon what Cooper has already established to include the standardization of processes and procedures, establishment of key performance indicators that are constantly measured, promote critical thinking, empower subordinates, build relationships and educate customers on the brigade's operational contract support.
The new enlisted leader entered the Army in October 1993 as a petroleum supply specialist and has since served in numerous leadership positions. Parker entered the Army Acquisition Corps in 2009 and holds a Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level III certification in contracting. He is a graduate of all of the Army NCO Education System courses, including the Sergeants Major Academy class 65. He also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University.
Cooper, who joined the 418th CSB in September 2013, retires from the service after 26 years of service. He leaves the brigade confident it is prepared to meet the Army's No. 1 priority of readiness.
"The training our personnel receive through exercises such as National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center, Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise, and other military exercises we support on a regular basis has drastically improved the brigade's capabilities to support the warfighter and tremendously enhanced our organizational readiness," Cooper said. "The 418th CSB is ready to deploy worldwide as one of Army Materiel Command's premier contracting organizations."
Cooper has played an integral role in the brigade's successes both in garrison and while deployed to Afghanistan in 2015. He helped lead the transition of contract support from the U.S. Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Command to a lead-service component with the Army, and he helped with the standup of Expeditionary Contracting Command-Afghanistan. Also in 2015, the 418th was named the Contract Brigade of the Year as part of the Army Acquisition Executive's Excellence in Leadership awards. His guidance also contributed to a 418th CSB Soldier earning best warrior recognition at the MICC and Army Contracting Command levels.
The assumption of responsibility ceremony included the passing of the brigade colors. The colors symbolize the heritage and history of the organization as well as unity and loyalty of its Soldiers. As the brigade command sergeant major, Parker is the keeper of the colors.
The 418th CSB consists of eight subordinate contracting offices and 21 contracting teams and is one of three brigades and one field directorate office that makes up the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The 418th CSB responsible for providing III Corps and the Army Test and Evaluation Command with disciplined and responsive contracting solutions and oversight. It is also responsible for providing operational contracting support upon order to deploy.
The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2016, the command executed more than 32,000 contract actions valued at more than $4.6 billion across the Army, including $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command also managed more than 585,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $741 million.