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The Institute welcomes new Command Sergeant Major

Change of Responsibility ceremony was held at the Presidio of Monterey on July 25th during which the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center welcomed a new Command Sgt. Maj. Matildo Coppi, U.S. Army, and bid farewell to his predecessor Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Pendergast, who retired after 33 years of service.

As an essential member of the three person team of highest ranking military staff at DLIFLC, the command sergeant major carries out policies and standards of the performance, training, appearance, and conduct of enlisted personnel.

In front of DLIFLC students, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airman, as well as numerous dignitaries and guests, DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman officiated the ceremony which included the ritual of passing the sabre from the outgoing command sergeant major to the new incoming command sergeant major. The handover of the sabre symbolizes the continuation of responsibilities.

The command sergeant major advises and initiates recommendations to the commander and staff in matters pertaining to the local Non-Commissioned Officers. There is no higher rank, except Sergeant Major of the Army, for enlisted Soldiers and there is no greater honor.

Coppi, was born in El Paso, Texas and entered the United States Army on August 1, 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts. He is a heritage speaker of Spanish. Coppi's numerous decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak clusters. He is currently pursuing the Master of Arts in Intelligence Studies from the American Military University.

His His predecessor, Pendergast who retired after 33 years in the service, is from Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Army after obtaining his B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts. Pendergast, among other training which he completed during his military career, is also a graduate of the DLIFLC Korean Basic Course. In 2006, he completed Summa Cum laude his Master's degree in education through Touro University International.

While in the U.S. Army, Pendergast deployed to Panama, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq. During his military service he was awarded the Legion of Merit with one oak cluster, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak clusters and numerous other awards.


Pendergast assumed his duties at the Institute in June 2012 and served DLIFLC students the only way he knew throughout his career - as one of his Soldiers put it upon hearing news of his retirement: "Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Pendergast was my 1SG (First Sergeant) and a good man! He took care of the troops."

Story and Photo Credits 

Story and photos by Dusan Tatomirovic, DLIFLC Public Affairs Specialist

Photo 1: The ritual of passing the sabre, from the outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Pendergast to the DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman, symbolizes the continuation of responsibilities.

Photo 2: Wife of the new Command Sgt. Maj., Mrs. Coppi, receives a welcome bouquet of flowers.

Photo 3: Pendergast receives his Certificate of Retiremet from DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman.

Photo 4: DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman delivering his speech.

DLIFLC 1759 Lewis Rd. Bldg 614, Ste. 251 - Presidio of Monterey - Monterey, CA 93944 (831) 242-7176, (DSN-768)