FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (Nov. 21, 2018) -- Soldiers from the 900th Contracting Battalion are not only contracting professionals with numerous real-world mission experiences spanning from the Central Command theater of operations to emergency response of natural disasters to include Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Florence, but also they are trained warriors.

Soldiers from the battalion started sharpening their warrior tasks and battle drills skills, testing their warrior spirit through a series of realistically resourced and expertly taught courses and challenges from Oct. 29 to Nov. 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"The 900th CBN remains flexible and agile in responding to real-world missions and aggressively pursues relevant training," said Lt. Col. Jason Miles, the 900th CBN commander. "We have structured an entire training year to a crawl, walk, run methodology in focusing efforts to train then validate the battalion and contracting teams. The battalion has transformed into a capability force for the brigade and a continued force provider for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and Army Contracting Command."

The event started with a team building exercise at the 82nd Airborne Division's All-American Mile obstacle course at Fort Bragg. Each team negotiated the course and was challenged with questions on common core contracting knowledge. The 900th CBN's contracting teams were not only physically tested, but also challenged on their intellectual and knowledge base under duress as each team negotiated the obstacle course. The 609th Contracting Team beat three other contracting teams to win the obstacle course with all 30 questions correctly answered. After the obstacle course, Soldiers competed at the 18th Airborne Corps Counter Improvised Explosive Device Cell at Pikes Field, where they were given instructions on tactics, techniques and procedures to detect, identify and react to various IEDs. Counter IED cell instructors created multiple lanes in which Soldiers were able to walk and train on how to detect common enemy IED emplacements. The 900th CBN conducted chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training at the 18th Airborne Corps' gas chamber at Fort Bragg. Soldiers tested their M40 field protective masks for a proper seal and were trained on decontamination procedures for mission oriented protective posture levels one to four. The teams completed phase one of warrior week with insider threat training.

Phase two of the event tested the Soldiers' marksmanship skills. The Soldiers zeroed and qualified their weapons. Honorable mentions for expert shooters were given to Capts. Daryle Palmer and Burton McCarthy, and for sharpshooters Capts. Stephanie Ciabotti and David Ray, Master Sgt. Andre Wilson, Sgt. 1st Class Terry Ann Lewis, and Staff Sgts. Jennifer Garland, Adebowale Goyea and Gregory Gunn.

The culminating event was conducted at the 82nd Airborne Division Pre-Ranger School, where instructors provided instructions on land navigation, employing hand grenades, individual movement techniques and how to move as a member of a team. The Soldiers final test was the completion of the school's land navigation test.

Warrior week involved planning, coordination and relationship building with outside units, agencies and subject-matter experts in order for the event to become a reality. Each contracting team was assigned as the lead for specific warrior tasks and battalion drills, with the lead battalion representative, Sgt. 1st Class Kevin McClatchey as the NCOIC of warrior week, who was responsible for synchronizing and organizing the 900th CBN warrior week. McClatchey used lessons learned from last year's training guidance and training plan, and put together a comprehensive block of training front loaded in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. The advantages of this approach affords the 900th CBN additional focus on contracting specific training throughout the year.

"By completing all the required warrior tasks and battle drills within 900th CBN's cyclic training calendar, battalion officers and NCOs have more training opportunities to enhance and sharpen their contracting knowledge and experience," Miles said. "Maximizing time allocated to contracting teams on their contracting knowledge will prepare the teams for the second annual Joint Contracting Exercise 19-02."

The JCX takes place at Fort Bragg in February 2019 with the 900th CBN hosting their Air Force partners from the 4th Contracting Squadron at Seymour Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Editor's note: Contributing to the article were Master Sgts. Jalila Wahid and Zettie Roberts.