FORT HOOD, Texas (Aug. 13, 2019) -- Leaders from the 418th Contracting Support Brigade cased their organizational colors during a ceremony Aug. 12 at Fort Hood, Texas, in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.

Col. Joel Greer, the brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Barrett Taylor cased the colors in a ceremony officiated by Brig. Gen. Christine Beeler, commanding general for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

In attendance for the ceremony were fellow Soldiers who will make up the brigade's rear detachment while deployed, members of Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Hood, family and friends.

The deployment marks the third for the 418th CSB, which will serve as the command and control element of Army Contracting Command-Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

"Americans expect that the Army is going to protect our national and vital strategic interests. To prevent conflict, shape security environments, win future wars, the total force must have the capability and capacity to accomplish assigned missions while confronting the threats in an increasingly dangerous world," Beeler said. "Today, the men and women of 418th Contracting Support Brigade are prepared to face that threat. For the next nine months they will provide the crucial operational contracting support for American forces, NATO allies, our coalition partners in Afghanistan and to meet the mission needs of our combatant commanders."

Beeler added that as one of the Army's premier contracting organizations, the brigade's motto, "Warfighters First," exemplifies its focus to provide material readiness to the warfighter first in order for U.S. forces and our allies to accomplish their missions. She went on to credit the foresight of the 418th CSB leadership in preparing the unit to deploy.

Greer, who will lead the brigade while deployed, cited the trust and communication exhibited daily among his team of Soldiers deploying as essential in carrying out the ACC-Afghanistan mission.

"It's a time of transition. We don't know … what the withdrawal is going to look like and what the peace talks will look like, but ultimately the mission continues. And support to the warfighter is the reason we are deploying," he said. "I cannot have asked for a better team than what I am going with right now."

Greer also thanked those remaining behind who will continue to support their mission partners, battalions and contracting offices throughout the brigade's formation, and acknowledged in particular those looking after their families.

"We must remember our families as we continue to deploy. What more can a commander ask for than to have a staff that comes to your door and asks, 'what can I do when you're gone?'" he said. "It's just amazing."

Brigade leaders will conduct a similar ceremony once in Afghanistan to uncase its organizational colors to signify that it is operational at its forward location. Subordinate to the MICC, the 418th CSB is made up of five battalions and nine installation-level contracting offices.

Operation Freedom's Sentinel encompasses two missions in support of the Afghan government and its people. U.S. armed forces continue to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission. OFS also aims to help secure and build upon gains as a follow-on to Operation Enduring Freedom.

About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.