By Maj. A. Milan Sanchez, 925th Contracting Battalion executive officerNovember 6, 2017
FORT DRUM, New York (Nov. 6, 2017) -- Soldiers and civilians of the 925th Contracting Battalion and Mission and Installation Contracting Command office at Fort Drum, New York, honored a former contingency contracting officer Oct. 18 for his contributions in paving the way for future military contracting officers supporting the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum community.
Retired Maj. Stephen Conaway enlisted in the Army in 1981 and was commissioned through the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School in 1992. He joined the Army Acquisition Corps as a 51C contracting officer in 1999. Shortly after joining the corps, he deployed to Afghanistan in October 2001 in support of Operations Anaconda and Enduring Freedom as the 10th Mountain Division chief contracting officer. During his deployment, Conaway negotiated several contracts to move critical supplies and equipment from Uzbekistan into Mazar-e Sharif, providing timely and expeditious support to U.S. forces.
"His actions were vital in increasing the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) commanding general's decision space and sustaining the U.S, military's counter-terrorism lines of effort," said Lt. Col Jessie Griffith, battalion commander.
In 2003, Conaway retired and used the training and knowledge gained in the Army and contracting to open his own business, Thousand Islands Winery.
During the course of cleaning the battalion area, a wall plaque containing pictures of Conaway was found in a storage room. Battalion leadership decided to reunite him with his plaque and allow the Soldiers and civilians of the battalion to learn some of the military contracting history of Fort Drum.
Members of the battalion and MICC-Fort Drum presented the plaque to Conaway at his winery in front of one of the many vineyards. During the presentation, Lt. Col. Jessie Griffith, the battalion commander, thanked Conaway on behalf the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and 419th Contracting Support Brigade for his "outstanding support to the warfighters of 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum."
Griffith also recognized his efforts as avant garde in establishing the foundation of outstanding contracting support to the 10th Mountain and its "Climb to Glory."
Following the presentation, Conaway provided the group a tour of his winery and explained the growing, picking, crushing and fermentation processes. The group also witnessed the bottling and packaging operations.
Throughout the tour, Conaway offered insights into how he utilized his experience as a leader and contracting officer in the Army to help develop the start-up and operations plans for his business. He also discussed the importance of negotiation skills, talent management, teamwork, and communication that has allowed Thousand Islands Winery to become the largest volume producer and farm winery in Northern New York.
The 925th CBN and MICC-Fort Drum provide cradle to grave contract support for supplies, services and construction in support of the Fort Drum Garrison as well as the 10th Mountain Division and its supported elements. Fort Drum's ranges, training areas and facilities serve as an essential training platform for Reserve component forces and units of the New York Army National Guard. The 925th CBN and MICC-Fort Drum are subordinate to the 419th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, that with another brigade and two field directorate offices make up the MICC. The MICC is headquartered at Join Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.