JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (May 20, 2019) -- As I travel throughout the country and speak with leaders from organizations supported by our command's contracting efforts, it's readily apparent that all of the hard work by talented members of our workforce is making a difference. In fact, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command has celebrated quite a few huge accomplishments since the start of 2019.

I'd first like to congratulate Staff Sgt. Charles Prihoda on the amazing feat of besting nine others as the top Soldier in the Army Contracting Command Best Warrior Competition earlier this month at Fort Hood, Texas. After a grueling week of challenges intended to tax both mental and physical capabilities, the contracting NCO representing the MICC and 632nd Contracting Team demonstrated a true commitment to Army values and the warrior ethos. He earned the right to advance to the Army Materiel Command Best Warrior Competition for a chance to be one of the elite Soldiers vying for the Army-level competition. Joining him will be runners-up Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Alexander and Sgt. 1st Class Enes Memic, both former MICC Soldiers whose advancement to AMC reflects our command's commitment to training the best and brightest.

That commitment to excellence also extends to our senior NCOs. Nine master sergeants from throughout the Army Contracting Command have been selected for promotion and attendance to the United States Sergeants Major Academy. We're fortunate that seven of those nine have already been identified to serve as battalion sergeants major throughout the MICC.

Also, truly demonstrating that today's professional Soldier entails both technical and tactical proficiency, Lt. Col. Kyle McFarland from the 418th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Hood was awarded the 2018 Major General Harold J. "Harry" Greene Award for Acquisition Writing. His winning entry in the future operations category outlined exactly the type of strategic thinking essential in our contracting leaders to meet the Army's modernization efforts.

Our civilian workforce has also earned its share of recognition. Mark Massie, our director of small business programs, earned the Secretary of the Army Award for Small Business Utilization for leading a team of 19 small business professionals to exceed goals for the fourth consecutive year. And Aundair Kinney, who leads our team at MICC-Fort Hood, was named the 2018 John W. Macy Jr. Award winner for her leadership excellence in guiding her office to significant improvements since her arrival.

These most recent achievements by our workforce underscores the importance of taking the time, as leaders, to ensure our folks are given the opportunity to be recognized for the incredible work they're doing. It takes only a little bit of time to complete nominations for a chance to be recognized at higher levels of command. In addition to recognizing our best, it's an opportunity to tell our MICC story.

Sharing our story with those across our communities builds relationships that serve to inform the public that the Army offers a wide variety of opportunities in a professional environment. In April, Lt. Gen. Leslie Smith, the Army inspector general, took time to visit the MICC and discuss a few topics with the command team. Among them were encouraging our workforce to tell our story to a variety of audiences including young men and women who are interested in Army service. As trusted sources, you have the opportunity to build those relationships and ensure they make informed decisions. I recently had the opportunity to join the commanding general at a number of events as part of Fiesta San Antonio for an opportunity to strengthen the military's ties with the community. The outpouring support by this community in celebration of San Antonio's rich military history is nothing short of remarkable and builds lasting relationships.

Telling that story is critical. Every member of our workforce is an ambassador for the Army. Take every opportunity to tell others about the great opportunities available, both on the uniformed and civil service sides. Competing against a robust economy, the Army missed its recruiting goal last year. This directly impacts our readiness. Requirements and our operations tempo are continuing to rise as the Army's reach now extends across Eastern Europe, the African continent and across the world. Of course, this include our own contracting Soldiers and civilians who are in harm's way. Keep them in your prayers and reach out to them to make sure they are being taken care of. Family readiness groups play a vital role in organizations directly contributing to the retention of our greatest asset -- our people.