By Betsy Kozak-Howard, ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.June 5, 2017
Lt. Col. Andrew Carter, battalion commander, and Sgt. 1st Class Justin W. Pellak, senior enlisted advisor, marked the inactivation of the 926th Contracting Battalion by casing the organizational colors in a ceremony held on May 31, at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Steven R. Bryant, Army Contracting Command-APG's deputy director, officiated the ceremony and, as part of the ceremony, he recognized eight military members for their meritorious service while assigned to the battalion.
Addressing the audience Bryant said, "This inactivation ceremony is a bittersweet event. Four years ago ACC-APG went from virtually no military to over 40 members assigned and all of us have benefited greatly from this collaborative relationship."
ACC activated the 926th in April 2013 with a dual mission to train a global-ready expeditionary contracting force and to provide comprehensive contracting support to ACC-APG's customers. The activation was part of an ACC operations order to integrate military members into the contracting centers.
While working with ACC-APG, the 926th CBN achieved significant milestones such as becoming the first battalion to activate within an Army contracting center, according to Carter. The unit again made history while deployed to Kuwait in 2014, becoming the first contracting battalion to assume the contingency contract administration services mission, transferring authority from the Defense Contract Management Agency to ACC. In 2015, the 926th CBN received the Army Acquisition Executive's Excellence in Leadership Award for Contracting Battalion of the Year.
"When I took command two years ago, I highlighted the uniqueness of military contracting professionals," Carter recalled. "Their real mission has been, and will always be, to stand ready to go anywhere, anytime, and anyplace to support the warfighter with their unknowable needs. I defined an unknowable need as something that our planners didn't plan for, our supply systems don't have in stock, and our military doesn't possess the capability, but our warfighter needs it. When the military contracting professionals stand shoulder to shoulder with the warfighter, we can get that need for them."
Carter also provided a review of battalion alumni who have moved on to other assignments, guided by the training they received with ACC-APG.
"Here is my snapshot of what great things former 926th CBN members are doing around the world, and is proof that their time here at ACC-APG was well spent," Carter pointed out. "Staff Sgt. Krishna K. Menon was just appointed as a lead contracting officer for the Special Operations Command in Africa. Maj. Michelle Lewis is working as an assignments officer at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, ensuring acquisition officers are placed at the right place across the Army. Maj. Lester Gebski serves as a contracting officer in Poland supporting the Army initiative to move armored formations into the European Theater -- a top priority for national security. Sgt. 1st Class Marc Gladney works at the Proponency Office charting the course for improvements in the 51C non-commissioned officer career field, and working hard to get our tremendous NCOs developmental opportunities. David Humfleet, who left the battalion last summer, is now working as a civilian contracting officer in ACC-APG's Tenant Division with a $50 million warrant."
Soldiers recognized at the ceremony included Carter, Pellak, and the following military contracting officers and NCOs: Maj. Steven G. Vandezande, Master Sgt. Andre D. Dooley, Master Sgt. Johnny L. Eure, Staff Sgt. Kenneth P. Harlan, Staff Sgt. Anthony K. Pylant, and Staff Sgt. Payten E. Redfearn.