419th CSB returns home, uncases colors
Col. Jim Craig addresses those in attendance and watching virtually following the uncasing of the 419th Contracting Support Brigade colors during a ceremony March 8 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Craig and Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Higgs uncased the colors marking the brigade’s official return from deployment to Afghanistan. Craig is the 419th CSM commander and Higgs is the brigade command sergeant major. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 8, 2020) -- Leaders from the 419th Contracting Support Brigade uncased their organizational colors during a ceremony March 8 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, signaling their return from deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Col. Jim Craig, 419th CSB commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Higgs uncased the colors during the ceremony officiated virtually by Brig. Gen. Christine Beeler, the commanding general for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, from Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

“Today we uncase the brilliant colors of the 419th Contracting Support Brigade following a hugely successfully deployment of the brigade headquarters led by Col. Jim Craig and Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Higgs. This deployment has been like no other,” said Beeler in reference to the delayed departure of the brigade amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and unit change of command in Afghanistan. “Through it all, Colonel Craig and Command Sgt. Maj. Higgs provided outstanding leadership and acquisition excellence to ensure warfighters had all they needed to win.”

Beeler also thanked all of the families who have endured the long days and nights without their loved ones while Soldiers were answering the nation’s call as well as members of MICC-Fort Bragg and Soldiers remaining behind who took care of those families. Craig echoed her sentiments.

“The ceremony was just as much or more important for the Soldiers and family members who stayed behind as it was for those who deployed, because they were the ones who had to – without getting additional people to help – take on the roles of those who deployed and, in many cases, pull double-duty,” Craig said. “They not only held down the fort, but they excelled.”

The brigade was responsible for providing acquisition support for American forces, NATO allies and coalition partners in Afghanistan the past nine months to meet the mission needs of combatant commanders. The 419th CSB administered a contract portfolio in support of 8,600 U.S. and coalition forces across 19 operating locations.

Soldiers established the Over-the-Horizon-Qatar office, and provided theater contract support to U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Special Operations Joint Task F-Afghanistan and 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. In support of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, they awarded more than $1 billion in contracts to support and supply the Afghan National Army and Afghan national police. The 419th CSB also managed more than 130 active contracts throughout the region valued in excess of $70 million, and through contingency contract administration services, managed 24 delegated contracts valued at $21.5 billion.

Brigade Soldiers were also vital to the coordination and retrograde of more than 20,000 contractors and their equipment essential to the closure of seven bases across Afghanistan. This was the third deployment for the 419th CSB headquarters since its activation in 2013.

“Now that the band is back together, it’s time to get everyone on the same sheet of music, sing in the same key, and harmonize to best support our mission partners,” Craig concluded in his remarks today.

The 419th CSB is responsible for contracting oversight in support of the U.S. Army Forces Command, Army Materiel Command, Installation Management Command, Security Assistance Command and XVIII Airborne Corps.

About the MICC

Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-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.