JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 29, 2018) -- Leaders from the 419th Contracting Support Brigade cased their organization colors during a ceremony March 28 at Fort Bragg, N.C., in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.

Col. Brad Hodge and Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Perryman cased the brigade colors in a ceremony officiated by Brig. Gen. Bill Boruff, the commanding general for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The ceremony comes a little more than a year after the brigade's headquarters staff returned from Afghanistan following its first deployment. It will replace the MICC's 418th CSB as the command and control element of Army Contracting Command-Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. The 418th CSB will redeploy to Fort Hood, Texas, in the days following the ACC-Afghanistan change of command.

"In the short five years since the brigade's activation in June 2013, you have established yourself as an indispensable partner in equipping, sustaining and enabling the warfighter," Boruff said during the ceremony. "As Fort Bragg celebrates 100 years of history, you have become an indelible component of that account and carry a tremendous responsibility. Today's battlefield still relies on a considerable level of contractor support. That requires Soldiers who are not only highly trained tactically but also in operational contract support."

Hodge, who assumed command of the 419th CSB in August 2017, said helping facilitate the brigade's deployment preparation was the 922nd Contracting Battalion from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

"This allowed us to start to establish the processes and procedures with the 922nd, which will be the regional contracting command in theater supporting the 101st Airborne Division that they are aligned with," Hodge said. "The 922nd has established a great working relationship with the 101st including working with their operational contract support team during a warfighter exercise."

Since returning home in January 2017 from its first deployment, 419th CSB Soldiers have continuously focused their efforts to remain ready and return to Afghanistan. The brigade has exercised its ability to support contingency operations worldwide since its last deployment. This included support to Operation Viper in Puerto Rico, which provided an opportunity to respond to a humanitarian disaster relief effort while also executing the full scope of staff functions in support of other named operations. Various battalions from the MICC deployed short notice in support of Operation Viper following the devastation left behind from Hurricane Maria last year.

In addition, Hodge and Perryman conducted a pre-deployment site survey to Afghanistan in February to synchronize the brigade's procurement and functional staff efforts. The commander said his team conducted weekly coordination meetings with 418th CSB to understand the dynamics of the environment, including challenges and opportunities. He added the 922nd CBN also helped prepare the airborne division for the mission by conducting field ordering officer, contracting officer representative and legal training.

"Bottom line, through advance coordination with the 418th CSB, Col. (Lynda) Armer and her team, conducting a gap analysis and filling the gaps with training, we have leaned forward to be postured to assume the mission."

The 419th CSB along with the 418th CSB and two field directorate offices make up the MICC, headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The MICC consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. 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 maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.