Acquisitions NCO appointed as career field’s first CSM

by Rachel Clark
409th Contracting Support Brigade

For the first time in Army history, the military contracting profession appointed its first command sergeant major during a formal appointment ceremony
Oct. 6 at Armstrong’s Club. 
Sgt. Maj. Bentura Fernandez, the senior enlisted adviser for the 409th Contracting Support Brigade, was appointed as the first command sergeant major from the ranks of the acquisition, logistics and technology contracting career management field. As a result of the appointment, Fernandez became the first command sergeant major of the 409th CSB.

Fernandez was joined by friends, family, staff, fellow command sergeants major, general officers, as well as the noncommissioned officers who serve the 409th CSB. While making his remarks, Fernandez reflected on Army life and all the support he received 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,” Fernandez said. “She has raised our children, maintained our home, and I couldn’t have done it without her.”   
Fernandez is one of the most 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 the first acquisitions 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,” Fernandez said. “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 is carried out by the Army to determine which sergeants major attain command sergeant major.

“The senior enlisted adviser for a contracting organization requires a depth of experience in planning operations, creating policy as well as providing contracting guidance to commanders and contracting officers,” said Col. Debra D. Daniels, the 409th CSB commander.

There are now command sergeant major positions at both the brigade and battalion levels in contracting organizations, with Fernandez being the first appointee. Now having acquisition NCOs in the senior enlisted adviser positions affords contracting NCOs the opportunity to serve in the Army at a higher level. 

“They will have obtained the experience, expertise and knowledge as they climb the contracting ladder through garrison and contingency contracting commands throughout their career,” Fernandez said.

“The Army acquisition force will benefit from a command sergeant major with an acquisition background. We are truly better for having Sergeant Major Fernandez as part of our team,” Daniels said.