Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. -- Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Gutierrez, the Research, Development and Engineering Command, never imagined that 28 years later serving the U.S. Army would be his career.

Gutierrez served as the RDECOM CSM for 11 months before he was selected to serve as the Communications-Electronics Command, or CECOM, CSM starting Aug. 9.

As a signal leader who had 'unorthodox' assignments, Gutierrez explained that each one helped him identify what it meant to be a good leader.

"I am a true testament as to why you have to have senior leader involvement when it comes to retention. It's one thing to be a supervisor; it's another thing to be a mentor," he said.

Coming to RDECOM, with that diverse background, allowed Gutierrez to provide Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, with multifaceted views on Wins' questions or concerns.

To prepare for his interview with Wins, Gutierrez researched RDECOM. With little information found online, he reached out to RDECOM scientists and engineers to learn more and was selected to be the incoming CSM.

Wins noted the impact Gutierrez made during his time at RDECOM. He bridged gaps between RDECOM and U.S. Army units by promoting the research and development efforts at the centers and labs. Gutierrez taught and mentored the NCOs and civilian workforce, while taking time to listen to their feedback.

"As he departs, I want him to know that he'll always have a home here. I appreciate the late nights, the conversations, the counsel, the advice and I wish you all the best. I very much appreciate you and value what you've been able to do for the command," Wins said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Martin, executive officer to the CSM, said Gutierrez was an influential mentor.

"CSM Gutierrez and I had conversations about life, fatherhood and the military. He was always willing to help out if he could and not because of his position. He's just that kind of person, genuine and caring. I learned so much from him in this short time. He's easy to talk to and straight forward. I'll miss how when he was hungry, he'd say, 'Let's go eat lunch because my smaller intestines are eating my larger intestines,'" Martin said.

Gutierrez was impressed by the workforce that he met during travels to the centers and labs.

"That level of passion is a true comfort to me as a CSM. There is a true service before self attitude everywhere I've been."

At CECOM, Gutierrez will be able to reconnect with the signal community and is excited to see the technology get into the Soldiers' hands. "As I move from RDECOM, from basic research, I go into a lifecycle management command to see another end of this, to see the end-state results. It looks like a perfect transition," he said.

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The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.