NCO Leadership Center of Excellence Two-Time Graduate Finds Continued Success as Command Sergeant Major

By Andrew SmithApril 29, 2024

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When the most recent Command Sergeant Major Key Billet Slate List (formerly known as the Command Selection List) was released it was a cause for celebration for many senior Soldiers around the Army, but for one Soldier at the Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Center of Excellence (NCOLCoE), this appointment was the culmination of many years of hard work in and out of the classroom.

Command Sgt. Maj. Wendy Menendez a graduate of the Sergeants Major Academy and of the NCOLCoE’s Penn State Fellowship program was one of the names on the list. Menendez currently serves at the organization where she is an instructor in the Department of Distance Education under the Sergeants Major Academy (SGM-A) on Fort Bliss, Texas.

When asked about her appointment to the position of Command Sergeant Major (CSM) she gave much of the credit to her time at the NCOLCoE and her variety of experiences as both student and teacher.

“The education received at the Sergeants Major Academy has been invaluable,” said Menendez about her experiences. “The additional education I received by taking part in the fellowship through the completion of a second master’s through Penn State University has opened and expanded my aperture in relation to how to think strategically. This has aided my career by providing me more opportunities to not only to give back to the Force but also to continue self-developing as a senior leader.”

For Menendez this appointment is nothing unexpected as she previously served as a CSM after her graduation from the Sergeant Major Academy. She returned to the NCOLCoE to take part in the fellowship program and from there contributed to the organization as an instructor for the Department of Distance Education where she instructs students primarily from the National Guard and Army Reserve whose commitments in the civilian world prevent them from attending classes fulltime on campus.

Just a few weeks before the announcement of her selection for Command Sergeant Major she was also named NCOLCoE instructor of the year. “What I believe made me stand out in the instructor of the year competition was my ability to use my previous experiences as a CSM to tie in with the lesson material to make it relevant for the students and to include everyone’s experience into the lesson to have a frank conversation.”

When asked what her advice was for Soldiers who may want to follow her example for excellence she suggested being open to stepping out of the comfort zone.

“The fellowship is a great program if senior leaders want to impact the future leaders of the Army and continue self-developing so that they can go back to the Force and share their experiences,” said Menedez about her time and experiences with the NCOLCoE program.

“I want the Force to know that if they complete the Fellowship, they still have enough time to return and serve the Force; serving at the SGM-A is not the end of their career.”

Menendez is proof that the NCOLCoE is a place where senior enlisted Soldiers can expand their horizons but also prove their worth as leaders to move on to more challenging roles and support the Army’s mission on a higher level.