CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Colonel Mary O.B. Drayton officially took command of the 408th Contracting Support Brigade during a ceremony June 27 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Drayton takes the reins of a unit that manages contracts totaling more than $11 billion, utilizing more than 18,000 contractors and encompassing more than 90,000 lines of property from Col. Ralph T. Borja who has led the 408th CSB since June 2018.
"I am honored to take the baton from you and will build upon the solid foundation you have developed with this team of teams," Drayton said to Borja during her remarks at the ceremony.
The 408th CSB is tasked with planning, coordinating and executing contract support within the U.S. Army Central area of operations. This includes three named operations in the region: Operations Inherent Resolve, Freedom Sentinel and Spartan Shield. There are two battalion-level commands operating under the 408th CSB -- Regional Contracting Center-Kuwait and Regional Contracting Center-Qatar. Additionally, the 408th CSB provides mission command to Regional Contracting Center-Iraq and contracting teams in support of operations across the Central Command area of responsibility.
"It has been my privilege to have the opportunity to lead the great Soldiers, civilians and support contractors of the 408th," said Borja during his final speech to the assembled crowd. "I was fortunate to work for some great general officers that really understand the importance of team, inclusion and synchronized contracting support. No one unit is totally self-sufficient in this theater and it's been a pleasure to see the teamwork that occurs on a daily basis to keep the mission going."
The afternoon ceremony was presided over by Col. Christine A. Beeler, the deputy to the commanding general for outside the continental United States operations for U.S. Army Contracting Command. During her speech, Beeler addressed Borja's time in command of the 408th CSB.
"His focus on professionalism, community and respect has strengthened the well-being of his command and enabled the team to achieve more without interruption in spite of an annual personal rotation of greater than 80 percent," Beeler said.
Beeler then focused her speech on Drayton, the incoming commander who begins her third assignment within the 408th CSB.
"I am confident that you will continue the great work and maintain the high standards of operational effectiveness achieved over the past year," Beeler said. "We all know that the work being done by the 408th CSB is critical to maintaining readiness in CENTCOM."