By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeJune 13, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CAMP BULLIS, Texas -- (June 13, 2017) A Soldier from Sembach Kaserne, Germany, earned honors as the Army Contracting Command Best Warrior and Non-commissioned Officer of the Year following five days of competition here June 5-9.
Staff Sgt. Jared Casey, a contract specialist with the 409th Contracting Support Brigade, was named the competition winner by ACC officials during a ceremony June 9 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Sgt. 1st Class Nadejda Vorobyeva-Santiago from the 413th CSB at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, was named runner-up.
The competition included several events aimed at testing the tactical skills of contracting NCOs in the 51-Charlie military occupational specialty and underscored the Army's No. 1 priority of readiness.
"The 51 Charlie field has definitely stepped up to the challenge. We have some of the most competent professionals," ACC Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Castillo said. "My intent was for them to be more tactical coming into this organization. Everything about this MOS and this unit has increased their tactical expertise. That's exactly what the Army wants us to do in reference to readiness, and we're doing it."
Casey, who had already earned distinction as the 409th CSB NCO of the Year for fiscal 2017, will now go on to represent Army contracting at the Army Materiel Command competition July 16-19 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The 32-year-old native of Hennepin, Oklahoma, admitted it was the thrill of rivalry that motivated him to compete in the ACC Best Warrior Competition.
"I love competition regardless of what it is in. The Army prides itself on military bearing and physical fitness. All of the competitors here are fit, and it's a very close competition," the 13-year veteran said. "I want to take away from this the understanding of how this event is put together and orchestrate events at my home station in Germany to build upon that."
Casey and Vorobyeva-Santiago were among seven Soldiers from throughout ACC's Mission and Installation Contracting Command and Expeditionary Contracting Command vying for the top spot last week in a series of events aimed at challenging their physical and mental resilience. Also competing were Staff Sgt. Derbe Amiah, 646th Regional Contracting Office, Camp Henry, South Korea; Staff Sgt. Joseph Conrad, 614th Contracting Team, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Staff Sgt. Michael Floore, 410th CSB, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston; Staff Sgt. Francisco Hernandez, 414th CSB, Vicenza, Italy; and Staff Sgt. David Timmons, 741st Contracting Team, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Events included the Army physical fitness test, weapons proficiency, combatives, obstacle course, day and night land navigation, water survival and a 12-mile ruck march. Soldiers also faced a variety of situational exercises both day and night involving ambush and chemical weapons attacks that affirmed their competence in radio communications, ordnance identification and casualty treatment all while under direct fire -- scenarios all designed to develop a ready Soldier.
Casey has deployed to Iraq two times, the most recent being in 2014 as a contracting NCO assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
"My responsibilities were to ensure that all life support contracts were awarded and that contracting officer representatives completed their inspections regularly," Casey said, adding that he was also responsible for training the field ordering office to ensure unauthorized purchases were not committed.
Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Wright, the 413th CSB command sergeant major from Fort Shafter, said the deliberate high operations tempo during the week of competition forced Soldiers to think before they react, whether they were engaging targets, an obstacle or the enemy.
"It's important because the Army demands it for all Soldiers regardless of MOS, and 51 Charlies are no different," Wright said. "The 51 Charlies have to realize that this MOS is more than just technical competence; it's tactical competence. We're total Soldiers just like everyone else and will be held accountable to the standard."
Wright added that duties performed by contingency contracting officers to secure services and supplies required by the Army oftentimes requires them to go outside the wire and into communities.
Headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, ACC is responsible for delivering contracting solutions in support of the Army and unified land operations. It consists of six major contracting centers and two subordinate commands.