By Staff Sgt. Sierra A. MelendezApril 25, 2018
The 904th Contracting Battalion, a tenant unit of the 3rd Infantry Division, uncased its colors following a nine-month long deployment to Afghanistan during a ceremony at Fort Stewart, Georgia, April 19.
The unit was operationally aligned with the 3rd Infantry Division's headquarters in Bagram Airfield, located in northern Afghanistan. The deployment was in support of Operation Resolute Support.
In 2000, the Department of the Army determined that contingency contracting battalions should be formed to harness and direct all contract support to combatant commands.
The 904th Contracting Battalion was established on October 1, 2008 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California as a result of an independent commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in expeditionary operations to review recent lessons learned and recommended ways to improve future military operations.
In June of 2016, the unit moved to Georgia to provide contracting support to Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
During the unit's most recent deployment with the 3rd ID, the 904th delivered support to the United States Forces Command-Afghanistan and coalition forces within central and northern Afghanistan.
"The 904th Contracting Battalion obligated $280,000,000 in theater and external support contracts ranging from trash removal, internet and phone service and minor construction to the more complex like private security contracts and providing dining facilities in remote locations," said Col. Jason Wolter, commander of United States Army Garrison Fort Stewart.
Additionally, the 904th played an integral role in the successful in-theater reception of the Army's 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade for their first deployment as a unit.
"We had to lay the ground work for the SFAB to come in," said Command Sgt. Maj. Barrett S. Taylor, command sergeant major of the 904th Contracting Battalion. "We were able to effectively receive them in country and positioned to where they needed to be with the services that were needed to sustain them."
Taylor stressed the importance that his unit's function serves to warfighters.
"Anything that the warfighter needs - eats, sleeps on, shoots, uses in their office - we are behind the contracts that supply that for them," said Taylor.
Taylor said that his unit was directly involved with the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan, coordinating contracts that supported their counterpart Afghan units in terms of maintenance, fueling, and other logistical aspects that would aid to the Afghan government maintaining their self-sufficiency and bolster their economy.
"It was unique contracting that we don't typically get to do at home station," said Taylor. "It was a great opportunity for our folks to cut their teeth on different types of contracts, especially in a contingency operation setting where the tempo is fast-paced."
The 904th will assume its garrison duties now that they have returned. Wolter expressed the significant impact the unit's functions plays stateside - equaled to the fundamental role they played downrange.
"Soldiers of the 904th will work alongside the civilians of the U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command to train with civilian contracting officers to develop the unique skills required in government acquisitions," said Wolter. "I am sure the 904th's merger with our MICC will be seamless and our contract services will only be stronger now that you and your team have joined our team."