JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (July 25, 2017) -- Leaders from the 418th Contracting Support Brigade cased their organizational colors during a ceremony July 19 at Fort Hood, Texas, as the unit prepares to deploy to Afghanistan this week in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

Col. Lynda Armer and Command Sgt. Maj. Darnyell Parker cased the brigade colors in a ceremony officiated by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Gabbert, the commanding general for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

"Readiness is the Army's No. 1 priority," Gabbert said. "Without reservation, the men and women of the 418th CSB are fully trained and ready for this demanding mission … to plan, coordinate and deliver agile effects-based contracting for coalition forces during operations in Afghanistan."

The deployment of the brigade's command and control element is its second. In February 2015, the 418th CSB transitioned the U.S. Central Command's Joint Theater Support Contracting Command to the Expeditionary Contracting Command-Afghanistan and established the Army as the lead service for contracting. In this instance, the 418th CSB assumes the command of ECC-Afghanistan from the 410th CSB, which returns to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston following its eight-month deployment.

In preparation for the deployment, members of the brigade led Army efforts earlier this year for the 2017 Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas. The Office of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored training exercise focused on the integration of all aspects of operational contract support across the joint operational force and individual contracting officer deployment readiness. Additionally, brigade Soldiers participated in division- and corps-level digital exercises as well as contingency contracting administration services operations training.

The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members across the United States and Puerto Rico who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers' readiness. The MICC also is responsible for readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, preparing more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintain more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.