JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 3, 2019) -- A Soldier from the 922nd Contracting Battalion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is a winner of the Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contracting for fiscal 2019.

Maj. Katrina Grimes, the battalion executive officer, earned the individual contracting officer award in the contingency contracting category. The award, one of four by Mission and Installation Contracting Command teams and individuals, was announced by the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement in a message to the workforce Nov. 18.

"I am grateful. I feel blessed to receive such a prestigious award for doing what I was deployed to do," Grimes said. "I hope our mission partners and those whom we supported felt as if we made their jobs easier through our contribution."

Grimes served as chief of the Regional Contracting Office-Erbil, Iraq, where she was responsible for the largest contracting office in the country. Her office provided operational contracting support to the Combined Joint Task Force, Special Operations Joint Task Force, U.S. Air Force Central Command, and Iraqi Security Forces in the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq and Syria.

She is quick to credit the team she led while deployed to RCO-Erbil for her success in earning the Army recognition and considers the ability to hone their talents as her most significant achievement.

"It took a team of Army, Air Force and civilians to successfully navigate the high tempo and diverse mission of RCO-Erbil," she said. "I was blessed with an organic and augmented team of nine professionals who took my visions for the RCO and exceeded my expectations."

While Grimes and her team were responsible for executing more than 120 requirements valued at $85 million, it was their efforts to increase the success of the line haul mission and completion of four critical construction projects that directly contributed to warfighter readiness. The major created a collaborative logistics team with the Syrian Logistics Cell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Marine Special Operations Command for high visibility, high priority requirements.

"The team used innovative contracting solutions to support the changing operational environment, which led to a 60% increase in critical mission completion," she said. "My team overhauled the Iraqi line haul that serviced Special Operations Task Force outstations throughout Operation Inherent Resolve. We analyzed the causes for delays and unsuccessful runs, worked with the Iraq State Department, contractors and customers to streamline Prime Minister National Operations Center approvals required for vendors transporting U.S. military cargo throughout Iraq."

The contracted line haul support ensured the Special Operations Joint Task Force met logistics and sustainment efforts for movements, team mobilizations and retrograde activities, Grimes explained. She added that line haul contract support drastically reduced reliance on cargo flights for logistical movements and minimized the need for internal logistical convoys.

Her optimization of contracting strategies and vendor negotiations contributed to a cost savings of more than $1.2 million on a $15 million contract for base life support, supplies, line haul services, and construction supporting theater wide operations for both U.S. and Iraqi forces. The regional contracting office also trained and supervised more than 200 field ordering officers throughout Iraq and Syria responsible for the procurement of equipment and supplies in support of combat actions against Islamic State militants.

Army awards for excellence recognize acquisition workforce members committed to customer satisfaction, productivity, process improvement, innovation and quality enhancement. They consist of team award, special award and contracting award categories. Award winners will be recognized during a Dec. 11 ceremony hosted by the Honorable Dr. Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, in Arlington, Virginia.

Editor's note:
This is the third in a series of articles highlighting the four Mission and Installation Contracting Command individuals and teams recognized as winners for the fiscal 2019 Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contract.

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.