Faces of the Force: Master Sgt. Cynthia Perryman
POSITION: Senior Enlisted Advisor
UNIT: 918th Contingency Contracting Battalion (CCB), Fort Carson, Colo.
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: Army active duty (13 years); Alabama Army National Guard (10 years)
DEPLOYMENTS: Kuwait, 1991; Iraq, 2004; Afghanistan, 2010
AWARDS: Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medals (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medals (4)
EDUCATION: B.A. General Studies, Selma University
By Susan L. Follett and Tara A. Clements
From logistician to contracting officer, Master Sgt. Perryman’s drive is fueled by her passion to take care of Soldiers—providing them what they need, when they need it to accomplish the mission at hand. With more than 23 years of service and experience with multiple deployments, this decorated senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) is now responsible for preparing the next generation of contracting officers to adapt to any mission they’re faced with at home and abroad. According to the Army Contracting Command senior enlisted advisor, Command Sergeant Major John L. Murray, “Perryman is a shining example of the caliber of professionals we have in the Army Acquisition Corps. She is deeply respected and a valued member of the team who always takes a personal interest to ensure Soldiers and Army civilians are prepared and resourced to do their job.”
FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
PERRYMAN: I am an acquisition, logistics and technology contracting noncommissioned officer (NCO (51C)) and senior enlisted advisor for the 918th CCB. As a contracting NCO, my work is important because I play a huge role in ensuring that warfighters receive the supplies and services they need to accomplish their missions. As the senior enlisted advisor, my duty is to train, coach, and mentor my NCOs and officers to ensure they are prepared physically and mentally for any mission.
FOTF: What has your experience been like? What has surprised you the most?
PERRYMAN: I reclassified from the logistics branch four years ago. While I was making great progress in my military career, I wanted more, and 51C offers great opportunities for advancement and good possibilities for a career as a civilian. My experience has been very challenging, especially the task of ensuring that Soldiers remain battle-ready while they settle into the 51C military occupational specialty (MOS).
What surprised me the most is how much Soldiers rely on their leaders. They get their energy from us, and we need to keep that in mind as we train and mentor them. Knowing that their desire to be the best-of-the-best comes from us is surprising and humbling to me, and motivates me to give my all every day.
FOTF: What is most rewarding about your job?
PERRYMAN: Knowing that I’m taking care of my Soldiers. Even if it’s a little thing like getting new chairs for a conference room, I like seeing my work come to fruition, and I like hearing their feedback – even if it’s not always positive.
FOTF: From your experience, what are the differences serving as a contracting NCO during deployment and non-deployment status?
During a deployment, the workload is like a revolving door—it never stops, which is a great thing because the more you do, the better you get at it.
In a non-deployment status, the workload does not compare to being deployed and there is an adjustment period from having a military supervisor to a civilian supervisor, but you’re still able to gain great experience if you want to learn and prepare yourself for life after the military—if contracting is part of your career path.
FOTF: What was the most memorable item or service you contracted for during your time in Afghanistan?
My most memorable item was the furniture I procured for the Camp Marmal dining facility during my deployment to Afghanistan. I remember walking in for breakfast and saw the new set- up for the first time; it was like being in a really nice restaurant. I was elated! Despite the situation we all were in at that moment, the dining facility was a place where Soldiers could take a minute to have conversations with others, watch AFN [Armed Forces Network], laugh out loud and feel a sense of peace for the thirty minutes that most spent during chow time. In my opinion, moments like that are priceless.
FOTF: What would you say to a Soldier considering this MOS?
If you are looking for a challenging and exciting MOS, reclassify to 51C. Be prepared to be open-minded, learn at a fast pace, work with civilians and set yourself up for a successful and bright future.
FOTF: What do you do when you’re not at work?
PERRYMAN: I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two daughters, and I really enjoy fishing. It’s very relaxing, one thing that this job is not. While I really love my work, the operational tempo is pretty high and the hours are long. I appreciate the opportunity to relax when I can.
FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?
PERRYMAN: I wanted to join the Army ever since I was a child. I loved the sense of safety it projected and the pride of the people who were affiliated with it. My mother encouraged me to pursue my dreams of joining the military, and she thought the Army would be good for me—she often mentioned that under different circumstances she would have joined herself.
My greatest satisfaction is taking care of Soldiers. The Army gives me the unique opportunity to mentor and counsel Soldiers in all types of settings, those on my team as well as those who just need someone to listen or a word of encouragement. In addition to helping, at that moment I’m also setting an example for my family and Soldiers to follow.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.