By Rachel Clark, 409th Contracting Support BrigadeOctober 21, 2011
Kaiserslautern, Germany - The military contracting profession appointed one of its first command sergeants major from the ranks of the acquisition, logistics and technology contracting career field.
Sgt. Maj. Bentura Fernandez, senior enlisted advisor, 409th Contracting Support Brigade, was appointed as one of the first 51C command sergeants major Oct. 6 in a formal ceremony joined by friends, family, staff, fellow command sergeants majors, general officers, as well as the noncommissioned officers that serve the 409th CSB.
During the ceremony, Fernandez reflected on Army life and all the support he's gotten through the years. "I want to say a special thank you to my wife, Antonnete, who has been with me through multiple deployments, as well as two wars. She has raised our children, maintained our home, and I couldn't have done it without her," commented Fernandez.
"This appointment is a testament to the Army's support for growing this career field," said Command Sgt. Maj. John L. Murray, Army Contracting Command, command sergeant major. "Command Sgt. Maj. Fernandez's appointment is another step forward in the advancement of Soldiers in this new and exciting career field."
Fernandez is one of the few senior NCOs in contracting. He began his military career in automated logistics when he joined the Army in 1985. In 1999, as a sergeant first class, Fernandez was picked to be a purchasing agent for an assignment in Qatar, thus making the move into the world of contracting.
Fernandez never knew this would be his path, or that he would be one of the first 51C NCO appointed as a command sergeant major.
"It has amazed me to watch the changes in contracting over the years, and how the evolution has reflected on NCOs," commented Fernandez. "Today's NCOs are more educated, and as it stands today, most NCOs make a conscious decision to join the contracting profession. I think contracting has come a long way."
The acquisition, logistics and technology contracting military occupation specialty for NCOs is a fairly new field, with its inception in 2006. Prior to being an MOS, contracting positions were embedded into different military specialties.
Rising to the position of command sergeant major is no easy feat. While the position is a lateral move for a sergeant major, a rigorous selection program carried out by the Army determines which sergeant majors will receive the title.
"The senior enlisted advisor for a contracting organization requires a depth of experience required for planning operations, creating policy as well as providing contracting guidance to commanders and contracting officers," remarked Col. Debra D. Daniels, 409th CSB commander.
There are now command sergeant major positions at the brigade and battalion levels, with Fernandez being the first appointee.
Having acquisition NCOs in senior enlisted advisor positions will allow those NCOs the opportunity to service the Army at a higher level.
"They will have obtained the experience, expertise and knowledge as they climbed the contracting ladder through garrison and contingency contracting commands throughout their career," stated Fernandez.
"The Army acquisition force will benefit from a command sergeant major with an acquisition background. We are truly better for having Sgt. Maj. Fernandez as part of our team," remarked Daniels.