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NEWS | July 20, 2023

MICC commander hosts change of command in Kuwait

By Tish Williamson Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs

The commanding general of the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, based at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, traveled to Kuwait to serve as host and reviewing officer for the 408th Contracting Brigade change of command ceremony on July 7.

The ceremony, honoring Col. Justin De Armond as the outgoing commander and Col. Barry Williams as the incoming commander, was held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and officiated by Brig. Gen. Doug Lowrey.

“The 408th Contracting Brigade has an enduring mission in Kuwait as a force multiplier for the entire United States Army Central Command area of responsibility,” said Lowrey, who hosted the Kuwait ceremony on behalf of Brig. Gen. Christine Beeler, commanding general of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. “I cannot overstate your importance in this region and our national defense.”

The 408th CSB was activated in 2007 and is currently one of eight active component contracting support brigades under the ACC and the Army Material Command. The brigade provides a full range of contingency contracting support to deployed forces. Aligned with Army Central Command, it offers ARCENT direct support, contract support, advisory and assistance planning for operational contracting support. Comprising nearly 200 rotational personnel, the command commitment is typically one year.

"As a team, you have accomplished a lot in a short period of time, with many more successes ahead of you, even as your leadership changes,” Lowrey told the brigade.

The ceremony included an invocation and benediction, honors to the host, honors to the host nation, honors to the U.S. and remarks by the reviewing officer, the outgoing commander and the incoming commander. Much of Lowrey’s remarks focused on the numerous successes enjoyed by the command under De Armond’s leadership since assuming command on June 29, 2022.

“On day one, (De Armond) emphasized the importance of enhancing lines of communication, not just with those sitting to your left and right, but by forging relationships with the brigade’s strategic partners and supported units,” Lowrey said. He explained that the brigade supports ACC as well as Joint partners in Kuwait, including Army Central Command, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Task Force Spartan and Area Support Group-Kuwait. “Justin, this is where you have excelled by bringing the entirety of the effects of contracting bear.”

During his remarks, De Armond thanked Beeler for entrusting him with the command, her mentorship and leadership during his 12 months in command and throughout his career. Lowrey is also De Armond’s mentor and former commander. The MICC is ACC’s only subordinate one-star command.

“I wouldn’t be here without you and Brigadier General Lowrey seeing the potential in me to lead a CSB,” De Armond said. He also thanked Lowrey for traveling to Kuwait in support of the ceremony. “I'm thankful for your willingness to officiate this ceremony. Your mentorship and guidance over the years have been invaluable to me, and I'm eternally grateful for your continued support.”

De Armond, who is redeploying to the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, thanked many other leaders, peers and subordinates who he attributes to his success in command.

“My biggest thanks goes to the entire 408th team for their tireless dedication to what we are here to do each day in theater,” De Armond said describing their dedication to duty as awe-inspiring. “I will forever be in your debt for your sacrifices to this honorable mission and cause.”

Lowrey returned the appreciation to De Armond for taking the time to provide a detailed and meaningful handover to the incoming commander, setting Williams up for success as he accepts command of the challenging one-year deployment.

“Colonel Williams, I know you are the right leader at the right time,” Lowrey said on behalf of the ACC and AMC commands. “We all know that you are up to the task of making continued strides in supporting people, readiness, modernization and the quality of life of everyone in your new area of responsibility.”

Williams has completed many operational and acquisition assignments, including a special operations battalion command and four separate deployments supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Most recently, Williams was assigned at the Pentagon as the military assistant for the undersecretary of the Army.

“This command is in very capable hands,” Lowrey said to the incoming commander. “Barry, thanks for rising to the challenge and the commitment you have already shown to operationalized sustainment support and the Army profession by providing over 23 years of dedicated service.”

For his part, Williams briefly thanked his family, new teammates, new partners and leaders who entrusted him with the honor of command. He closed with special thanks to his predecessor.

“Justin, I wish you and your family the best as you all transition to the next chapter of your career,” Williams said. “You will be an asset to the RCCTO team.”

Lowrey, who also took the time to tour the brigade’s footprint during his visit to the region, concluded his remarks with words of encouragement to the Soldiers and civilians deployed with the brigade and predicted that Williams would have a successful year in command.

"It’s our people — our strong military, civilian, and contractor workforce — from industrial artisans to senior logisticians — who are at the core of this command’s support for the warfighter," Lowrey said, describing how Williams would achieve success. “Not only by providing expert support to the best equipped and sustained fighting force in the world, or enabling Army readiness through contracting solutions but by supporting the health, safety and well-being of those in your charge.”

The change of command ceremony is a military tradition dating back to the 18th century. The ceremony includes the first passing of the organizational flag from the outgoing commander to the reviewing officer, symbolic of the relinquishment of command responsibility. The reviewing officer then entrusts the new commander with the flag, and thereby, the command. Once accepted, the new commander entrusts the flag to the most senior NCO in the command for safekeeping. As the flag changes hands, so does the trust and loyalty of the personnel within the command.