JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 25, 2020) -- Soldiers from the 919th Contracting Battalion uncased their colors, symbolizing the return of the unit during a ceremony Sept. 18 at Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Bliss, Texas.
The 919th CBN command team and staff were deployed for 10 months with the 1st Armored Division in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan. The battalion officially returned from their mission June 6, and due to COVID-19 reasons the ceremony was delayed. The virtual uncasing ceremony was streamed on the internet to MICC senior leadership and the workforce.
“I couldn't be more proud of how the battalion performed in support of 1st Armored Division, United States Forces-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Eric Brooks, the 919th CBN commander. “We had so many great individual and team performances.”
During the ceremony Brooks highlighted the achievements of the battalion in his remarks.
During its deployment the team helped the Regional Contracting Center-Afghanistan provide strategic effects with operational contract support to more than 50,000 U.S. troops, coalition forces and civilian personnel scattered across 27 forward operating bases in theater. The RCC-Afghanistan finished fiscal 2019 with the execution of 1,142 contract actions valued at more than $526 million. The team closed 435 contracts in fiscal 2019 with 232 de-obligations returning more than $124 million back to USFOR-A and CSTC-A.
Unit contracting personnel administered a fuel contracts to power the Afghan air force and Afghan national army and managed a geographically dispersed fuel distribution network consisting of 28 aviation fuel delivery sites and 695 ground fuel delivery locations.
Working on contingency contracting administration services, the team oversaw more than 12,000 contractors on a portfolio of 35 delegated contracts with a combined value of more than $20 billion.
“The final quarter of our deployment was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brooks said. “This again forced us to be adaptive and react to a changing mission. The 919th CBN responded by awarding 13 high-priority contracts for $4.3 million in support of the COVID-19 response --providing critical supplies such as test kits, air purification filters, personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for our multi-national hospitals throughout the combined joint operations area in Afghanistan.”
Brooks also expressed a great deal of gratitude to the family members who remained resilient and strong allowing their deployed Soldiers to focus on the mission.
“I want to thank our families for the enormous sacrifice they made.” Brooks said. “This was a tough mission that involved an extension in theater. This was seven days a week, 16-hour days. And it's always tough missing an entire school year with our kids, but we hung in there and accomplished the mission.”
Sgt. Maj. Rachel Harris, the 919th CBN sergeant major, closed the ceremony by commenting on the unit’s resiliency during the deployment and its readiness to continue the mission at home.
“We endured many challenges during the deployment, however we persevered,” Harris said. “Moving forward, Lt. Col. Brooks and I are very excited to join our MICC-Fort Bliss family, and ready to get after some initiatives that will propel the organization in a positive way.”
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. As part of its mission, 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.
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