By Mr. Wallace McBride (Fort Jackson)March 15, 2018
The U.S. Army Financial Management School and Finance Corps welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Gennaro Penn as the 11th command sergeant major during an assumption of responsibility ceremony March 9 at the Soldier Support Institute.
"It's a bittersweet moment when you lose a great NCO like this, but another great one steps in to fill the gap," said Col. Richard Hoerner, commandant of the U.S. Army Financial Management School and the chief of the Finance Corps. "There's a lot of emotion up here, but its emotion of joy, not sadness."
Penn follows Command Sgt. Maj. Annie Walker, who assumed duty June 16, 2016 and is retiring.
"Walker's accomplishments while serving as the senior noncommissioned officer at the Financial Management School are many," Hoerner said. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your professionalism, dedication, selfless service, commitment and loyalty to me and all of the Soldiers, civilians and Family members whose lives you've personally impacted while serving as the command sergeant major of this organization."
Hoerner said Penn has a history of making Soldiers and officers "successful," and will continue this practice at the Financial Management School.
"Sgt. Maj. Penn, your reputation precedes you," he said. "I cannot tell you the countless number of Soldiers I have spoken to, and your name eventually comes up ... they tell me how lucky I am to have you as the inbound command sergeant major of the Financial Management School and serving as my right arm."
Walker was equally optimistic about Penn's abilities.
"Brother, I'm proud of you," Walker said to Penn during her speech to the audience. "I have no doubt that you will continue to exceed the standard, bring about innovative and diverse concepts, a he assists with leading the finance corps and school."
A native of New Orleans, Penn began his military career as a 73C Finance Specialist in 1991, attending Basic Combat Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Advance Individual Training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. His assignments include the 10th Finance Support Unit, Vicenza, Italy, operations sergeant major for Army Finance Command's Operational Support Team, and served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn as senior financial management advisor and trainer.
Penn's most recent assignment was command sergeant major of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
"If I'm able to accomplish half of what you were able to accomplish here, I will consider myself a success," Penn said to Walker following the assumption of responsibility ceremony. "Command Sgt. Maj. Walker, you are an amazing leader. I've always considered you a mentor, a friend … and I'm going to miss you. The command and staff here at the school is great, amazing, Thank you for your unwavering support as I transition here. And I'm ready for the challenge."
The Army Finance School was established in 1920 at Fort Washington, Maryland. The staff and faculty was made up of one officer, one warrant officer, six noncommissioned officers and three enlisted Soldiers. It offered a 10-week course for enlisted Soldiers and a 17-week course for officers. In 1938, the school moved to the Holabird Quartermaster Depot in Baltimore, to Fort Benjamin Harrison in 1951, and came to Fort Jackson in 1995 under the Soldier Support School banner.