FORT STEWART, Ga. – Command Sgt. Maj. Quentin Fenderson, the outgoing senior enlisted advisor for the 3rd Infantry Division, relinquished responsibility of the division during a change of responsibility ceremony to the division’s new senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Reffeor, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Georgia, April 6, 2023.
A change of responsibility ceremony is rich in military symbolism and heritage and reinforces the role of the noncommissioned officer in the Army, highlighting their role as a bridge between the commander and the formation's enlisted Soldiers.
Fenderson, a native of Demopolis, Alabama, joined the Army in 1994 as an infantryman and served with the 3rd ID for 17 years throughout his career. During those years, he deployed with the division to Egypt in support of Operation Bright Star, to Africa in support of the U.S. Army Africa Command rotation and to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Additionally, his career has also taken him to Bosnia, Macedonia and Afghanistan.
“The great thing about this job is, as you start to move up, you recognize that it’s a limited population,” said Fenderson. “You know who you want to be a successor of yours.”
Replacing Fenderson is Reffeor who joined the Army in 1997 as an infantryman, and served in numerous leadership roles within 3rd ID. These roles included time as an operations sergeant major, as the senior enlisted advisor for the 2nd Battalion, 69th Combined Arms Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, and then as the senior enlisted advisor for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.
“My journey in the Marne Division began here six years ago,” said Reffeor. “I didn’t know at the time that our friendship would grow into what it is today. We switched out together as Battle Boars in 2016 and now again as Marne 7.”
Expressing his gratitude to Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, the commanding general for 3rd ID and the ceremony’s reviewing officer, Reffeor comes to the division eager to return to the division as the senior enlisted advisor for 3rd ID, ready to serve and lead Soldiers within the historic division.
“General Costanza, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be Marne 7 and serve with all the Dogface Soldiers again,” said Reffeor. “To the Soldiers of this great division, I promise you 100 percent effort each and every day. I ask in return you bring those same efforts, and I have no doubt that you will.”
Costanza discarded his prepared speech and instead chose to speak from the heart. During his comments, he reminded Soldiers, families and distinguished guests of the time-in-service and the impact Fenderson has had in the Army and on the Marne Division.
“We’ve got three things,” said Costanza. “We’re welcoming a new Marne 7, we’re saying farewell to the old Marne 7, but most importantly, we’re saying goodbye to a command sergeant major after 29 years of service to his country, 17 years of which were in this division.”
Additionally, Costanza shared what it means to learn values and the impact it can have on those who look up to leaders and want to take after them.
“Where do we learn values?” said Costanza. “We learn values from our parents, family, coaches and teachers in high school, but most importantly for the Soldiers in the United States Army, we learn values from the leaders that we serve with.”
Throughout Fenderson’s 29-year military career, he has served at nearly every enlisted leadership position with the Marne Division. Serving as the division’s senior enlisted advisor is his final assignment as he prepares for retirement with his wife, Olivia, and their children.
“I’ve done this for 29 years because of the inspiration that you [the Soldiers and their families] give me,” said Fenderson. “Seeing your face on a daily basis inspires me to do more, and I hope you have truly enjoyed it. I hope I have made an impact on you, and I hope my service has meant something to you – so for the Soldiers and families, I appreciate you.”