Command Sgt. Maj. Quentin Fenderson was born and raised in Demopolis, a small town at the confluence of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers in western Alabama. According to Fenderson, growing up in his neighborhood was like being raised by a village.
“You could do something wrong down the street and get a big whoopin’, and then by the time you get home, you might get another whoopin’,” Fenderson said. “That’s how close the community was.”
Fenderson participated in sports throughout his childhood, and following high school he played baseball at the collegiate level. Becoming an Army division command sergeant major never crossed his mind until after he arrived to 3rd Infantry Division as an infantryman. Fenderson would serve 12 years in the 3rd ID and it was during this time that he realized becoming a command sergeant major was a goal he had the ability and drive to achieve. He said there is no other division in which he would rather serve as the senior enlisted advisor than the 3rd ID.
That goal was realized in a ceremony Sept. 23, at the Marne Garden on Fort Stewart, Georgia, when Fenderson assumed responsibility as the 3rd ID command sergeant major.
Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto, 3rd ID commanding general and the ceremony’s reviewing officer, reminded guests of how 3rd ID earned its reputation as “The Rock of Marne” during WW I, when division Soldiers defended the Marne River in France from advancing German troops.
“Our Dogface soldiers stood their ground like a rock along their positions on the Marne,” Aguto said. “Command Sgt. Maj. Quentin Fenderson is no stranger to this division. No one represents our ‘Rock of the Marne’ better. There is no better trainer, leader, or rock, and we are honored to have him here.”
During Fenderson’s previous stint with 3rd ID, he deployed four times to Operation Iraqi Freedom. During OIF I and III, he served as a platoon sergeant and battalion master gunner assigned to 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. He deployed again for OIF V and VII, serving in the latter as a company first sergeant in 2nd Bn., 69th Armored Regiment, 2nd ABCT. In addition to his four deployments to Iraq, Fenderson’s career has taken him to Bosnia, Macedonia, Egypt and Afghanistan.
“It was the people around me from this division who always supported me and who always encouraged me,” Fenderson said. “So to be able to come back, and be able to give from this position is amazing to me.”
Fenderson believes his greatest responsibility as the division’s senior enlisted advisor is to develop an environment in which Soldiers, Family members, and civilian employees throughout the organization are supported and treated fairly and equally. Fenderson added that he appreciates the standards set by his predecessors: Command Sgts. Maj. Michael Coffey, James McGuffy, and Jesse Andrews. He said he is proud to follow in their footsteps.
“We have a small-town feel here in that we all take care of one another,” Fenderson said. “By making sure our people are taken care of, we can better focus on serving our nation.”
Fenderson thanked those in attendance, including his family and more than a dozen former and current sergeants major.
“Throughout my career I've been given what I consider the most important thing one can ever receive: an opportunity,” said Fenderson. “Each of you in some form or another have given me the opportunity to lead, to learn, and to mentor. I know I wouldn't be here without you.”