By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Lt. Col. Amy A. Saal assumed command of the 918th Contracting Battalion during a ceremony at Manhart Field May 21, 2021.
Col. Joel M. Greer, commander, 418th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, presided over the ceremony where Lt. Col. James “JB” Burkes relinquished command of the battalion to Saal.
“It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to a great leader,” Greer said following the traditional passing of the unit colors. “It’s been a pleasure to watch JB serve as the commander here at the 918th. His focus has been on enhancing operational readiness and providing operational support to the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. Col. Burkes and his team have been a magnificent part of that enhanced readiness, and we appreciate his great leadership. He forged the 918th into the great unit seen here today.”
While leading the 918th CBN, Burkes commanded a unit that executed over 1,300 contract actions valued at over $300 million in support of base operations.
“He also deployed as the commander at the RCCA (Regional Contracting Center-Afghanistan) in Afghanistan,” said Greer. “We appreciate everything he has done, and I have no doubt that we put a great lieutenant colonel in command of the 918th as we watched him be selected for colonel.”
Saal arrives at Fort Carson after serving at Army Contracting Command — Redstone. She is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she was a four-year letter winner and captain of the Army’s Women’s Basketball Team. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Naval Postgraduate School, has served in a variety of career fields including acquisition, logistics and distribution and performed a variety of roles including a leadership position at Army Materiel Command.
A veteran deployer, Saal has earned the Bronze Star Medal and Afghanistan Campaign and Iraq Campaign Medals among several other individual medals, awards and citations.
“Amy (Saal), welcome back to mission and installation contracting command,” Greer said. “I believe you are a great leader for the 918th, and I have no doubt the 918th is in good hands with you at the helm. All one has to do is follow the news to know that today’s Army is facing tighter budget challenges along with increasing threats every year.”
Following his command at Fort Carson, Burkes will head to Washington, D.C. to attend Senior Service College.
“Lt. Col. Saal, I’m confident in your ability to take this organization further than I ever could,” Burkes said during his farewell speech. “You are the right person at the right time for this job, and I look forward to hearing of your great feats in the future.”
During her words to attendees, Saal thanked the Soldiers and civilians of the 918th CBN and said it is an honor to be leading a successful team of dedicated professionals.
“Lt. Col. Burkes has built an outstanding organization,” she said. “What the team has accomplished is phenomenal. I’m proud to share this field with you today. I look forward to facing the challenges ahead as we continue to build capable and deployable contracting detachments to support our nation’s warfighters.”