Remembering a long-time Fort Irwin employee, friend to many

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Today we remember and pay tribute to Marie Velez the Deputy Director of MICC in Fort Irwin.  Marie passed away unexpectedly on June 1, 2019.  She is survived by her sister Rosie.

Marie started her contracting career at the National Training Center (NTC)/Fort Irwin and her career spanned over 30 years. Her duties included Purchasing Agent in the Directorate of Contracting from June 1988 – April 1996; Procurement Analyst as the Purchase Card Manager and trainer for the NTC Acquisition Command from May 1996 – June 1998; Procurement Analyst as a Small Business Specialist; Business Systems administration; Policy, Manpower and Training  for the NTC Acquisition Command from July 1998 – January 2002; Procurement Contract Specialist as a Contract Specialist Team Lead for the NTC Acquisition Command from February 2002 – January 2003; Division Chief of multiple divisions serving over 10 years across the various divisions within the office of Mission and Installation Contracting Command from January 2003 – September 2013; Deputy Director for the U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command – Fort Irwin from October 2013 – 1 June 2019.

Marie is remembered by her co-workers (work family), both past and present, for her dedication to family and the “Mission”. Her work family was her extended family.  Lt. Col. Rich Pfeiffer remembers her fondly. “Marie was my deputy,” Pfeiffer said. “I was Marie’s commander. At the end of my tour, Marie was my friend, and more importantly Marie was family. I’m uncertain if Marie was part of my family, or if Marie had let me into her family– pretty sure it was the latter.  I will always remember Marie in two main aspects: Commitment to family and Commitment to the mission. I called her ‘Saint’ Marie for everything she did for her family, both immediate and extended, and for everything she did for the Army.  That still holds true for me today.  I will miss her and will always hold her in my heart.  She loved us all; she was loved; we will miss her dearly, and though the mission goes on, and we will somehow fill the gap, a valuable piece is missing, from our lives, our workspaces, our families and our hearts.”

David Bruce Bautista also had kind words for her. “Marie was smart, caring, generous, compassionate, just an amazing soul who looked out for people,” he said. “We loved her and she’ll definitely be missed.”

Raquel Cisneros remembers, “At Fort Irwin, we are a community of professionals that knew why we are here and Marie was a huge part of keeping the community working and moving forward. Marie’s friendship, both personal and professional, leaves a large hole in my heart and I know that Fort Irwin has lost a large part of our past, as well as someone who had visions that would help move Fort Irwin into the future. She is missed already.”

As a former resource manager at the NTC, I had the pleasure to work with Marie for 10 years. What I remember the most about Marie was that she was the mentor for all interns, new employees and Commanders in the contracting office.  She was the foundation of the office that held the wealth of knowledge of the units, requiring activities and soldiers of the NTC.  The mission and soldiers always came first.

Marie’s soul may have left this world, but her spirit and memory will live on at the NTC.  It was a pleasure to know you for the past 30 years! Rest in Peace my friend!

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