JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (April 30, 2021) -- Members of the 902nd Contracting Battalion and Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, welcomed a new commander during a change-of-command ceremony April 28.
Lt. Col. Juan Villatoro assumed command of the battalion from Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley in a ceremony officiated by Col. Joel Greer, the 418th Contracting Support Brigade commander, from Fort Hood, Texas. Villatoro comes to the 902nd CBN from the 408th CSB at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, where he served as the brigade executive officer and the brigade contracting operations chief.
“Lieutenant Colonel Shilley’s focus during his time here at JBLM has been on readiness and increasing MICC-JBLM’s ability to provide operational contracting support to I Corps and JBLM,” Greer said. “It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to a great leader, and it’s been a pleasure to serve with Lieutenant Colonel Shilley over the last three years. As we close the door on the departure of one leader, another door opens and welcomes the new leader. Lieutenant Colonel Villatoro comes to 902nd Contracting Battalion with wealth of contracting and leadership experiences. Welcome to the brigade.”
Villatoro was commissioned as a transportations officer with the Army through ROTC in June 2002 after earning a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from the University of California-Santa Barbara, in Santa Barbara, California. He also holds a Master of Science in Logistics Management-Humanitarian and Disaster Relief from the Florida Institution of Technology. Villatoro has served a variety of assignments of increasing responsibility before joining the Army Acquisition Corps. He is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level III certified in contracting.
“As our nation continues to refine our global competition effort, we are expected to deliver our mission partners the capabilities they need at the decisive moment in the battle,” Villatoro said, adding that he has personally witnessed how exceptionally the battalion performed in Operations Inherent Resolve and was impressed with the battalion's accomplishments and numerous challenging missions in support of the nation at home and abroad. “I challenge you all to sustain the great work you have done and find ways to innovate and provide effective collaboration amongst us and with our mission partners.”
Shilley, who commanded the 902nd CBN since May 2018, departs to attend the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island. Greer took time to thank him for his leadership over the last three years and highlight a few of his accomplishments while leading the uniformed and civilian members of the battalion. He noted his back-to-back consecutive operations between redeployment from supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and COVID-19 response, where he led contract efforts establishing the Seattle Field Hospital in CenturyLink Field, a 250-bed facility with intensive care, emergency room and operating room capabilities to support civilian and military efforts. The brigade commander also commended Shilley for his instrumental role in leading the command’s efforts with dining facilities administration contracts, responsible for the safe feeding of more than 15,000 Soldiers daily across the installation.
Shilley said it has truly been an honor to command the 902nd CBN and serve as the deputy director of MICC-JBLM. He also commended the professionalism and leadership of his fellow Soldiers and contracting professionals.
“I’m truly honored to be a part of such an amazing team and will be forever grateful for the relationships we have built, and the personal and professional growth that this experience has provided me,” Shilley said.
Prior to the start of the change-of-command ceremony, Greer said the high spirit and energy Shilley brought to battalion command will next serve to influence future strategic leaders across the Army during his war college about the role contracting plays in building combat capabilities. The outgoing commander was then awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
The tradition of changes of command is rooted in military history dating back to the 18th century when organizational flags with colors and symbols unique to each unit were developed. During a change of command conducted in front of the unit, the organizational flag was passed to the individual assuming command to which Soldiers of the unit would dedicate their loyalty and trust. Today, a unit’s colors also represents its heritage and history. Adapted to comply with current COVID-19 limitations, the traditional passing of the colors were conducted wearing gloves and masks.
The 902nd CBN is made up of two contracting detachments including the Contracting Detachment A and B, consisting of nine Soldiers each. Since its inception, battalion Soldiers have deployed continuously around the world in support of exercises and contingency operations. Soldiers have supported named operations including Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel and OIR as well as deployments to Thailand, Philippines, Palau, Guam, Australia and numerous exercises within the United States. In December 2019, 902nd CBN won the 2019 Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contracting, Outstanding Unit category.
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.