By Gail Parsons, Fort Riley Public AffairsJuly 30, 2018
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- The 923rd Contracting Battalion at the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Riley, had its first change of command ceremony July 16, nearly one year to the day from when its flag was unfurled on Fort Riley.
On July 20, 2017, Col. Mary O. Drayton took part in a ceremony to uncase the colors signifying the unit's reassignment and permanent change of station from Michigan to Fort Riley.
In a traditional change of command ceremony in front of family and coworkers, she relinquished command to Lt. Col. Robert J. Bartruff.
Bartruff is no stranger to the post, and in his remarks, he spoke of his time here.
"I am truly grateful to be back here at Fort Riley, the key nexus of my military career," he said. "This is where my father, Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Bartruff, pinned on my sergeant chevrons and rendered my first salute when I received my commission. I am deeply honored to be part of the 923rd contracting mission."
As he prepared to take command he thanked Drayton for her resourcefulness in establishing and preparing the battalion.
"Her stewardship of this organization has been nothing less than marvelous," he said. "It is no simple feat to activate a new organization, move and consolidate with another. I will endeavor to follow in your footsteps."
Commander of the 418th Contracting Support Brigade, from Fort Hood, Texas, Col. Joel M. Greer, showed similar sentiments.
"We are proud to be a decisive part in the successful readiness of the 1st Infantry Division," he said. "We know you can't do it alone just as we can't do it alone. Mary Drayton and her team have been a magnificent part of the enhanced readiness and we really appreciate her great leadership. She forged the 923rd into the great unit you see here today."
He told those who had gathered that, in his opinion, the 923rd was the number one battalion of the five contracting battalions in the 418th. His affirmation to their success serves as a testament to the committed dedication and hard work of Drayton and the entire 923rd staff.
From a lone building outside the 12th Street Gate, the battalion members, which only number in the 50s, executed more than 1,300 contract actions valued at $50 million in support of Fort Riley post operations during Drayton's tenure.
It's a feat that Drayton takes pride in.
"… While the office may seem small in size, the ripple effect of every contract, contract-related action or support function from this group of professional civilians and Soldiers, significantly impacts the readiness of the warfighter," she said.
Drayton, a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, was selected for the Army War College and to command the 408th Contracting Support Brigade.
As the ceremony came to an end, Bartruff gave his closing statement to those gathered.
"All policies and procedures remain in effect," he said. "Contracting for Soldiers with honor."