Command Sgt. Maj. Rob Istas will accept authority as the command sergeant major for the 35th Infantry Division in a ceremony Saturday, March 4, at the 35th ID Headquarters, 4 Wagon Wheel Way, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The ceremony will begin following the 35th ID Change of Command ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m.
In this position, Istas will be the advisor to the 35th Infantry Division commander on issues regarding the professional development, readiness, training, utilization, health, morale and welfare of the division’s Soldiers.
“I am pleased that I was selected to return to the 35th Division,” said Istas. “I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to serve in this historic division and can't wait to get started.”
Istas will replace Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuenkel as the senior enlisted leader for the division.
“My command philosophy has always been, work hard, train hard and play hard and you will build a cohesive team,” said Stuenkel.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rob Istas
Command Sgt. Maj. Rob Istas enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard in February 1987 as a military police officer in the 35th Military Police Company, Topeka. In 1999, he transferred to the Kansas Regional Training Institute in Salina, where he served as an instructor for the Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course and Officer Candidate School. He also served as the Teach, Assist, and Counseling (TAC) noncommissioned officer for the OCS.
In July 2006, he was selected as first sergeant of the 35th MP Company and served in that role through a deployment to Iraq in 2007-2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In January 2010, Master Sgt. Istas transferred to the 35th Infantry Division at Fort Leavenworth as a provost marshal - operations NCO. In the summer of 2010, Istas Interstate transferred to Missouri National Guard and continued to serve in the 35th Division.
In July 2011, Istas was promoted to sergeant major and transferred to the 205th MP Battalion in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, as the operations sergeant major. In December 2013, Istas was selected as the command sergeant major of the 203rd Engineer Battalion in Joplin. In May 2018, Istas was selected as the command sergeant major of 70th Troop Command at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
In February 2019, Istas was named command sergeant major of the 35th Engineer Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In February 2022, Istas returned to 70th Troop Command at Lebanon, Missouri, as the senior enlisted leader.
Istas earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in business management from Washburn University.
His military education includes Brigade Commander/Command Sergeant Major Pre-Command Course, Combat Engineer Battalion Pre-Command Course, United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, United States Army First Sergeant Course, Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officer Course, Small Group Leader Instructor Training Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer’s Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer’s Course, and Primary Leadership Development Course.
Istas’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (5th Award), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraqi Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Mobilization Device, and numerous other awards and decorations.
Istas is a 28-year veteran of the Kansas Highway Patrol and is assigned as a Lieutenant in charge of the Breath Alcohol Unit.
Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuenkel
Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuenkel enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1986 as a combat engineer. He has served in numerous command positions during his 36 year career, including command sergeant major, 35th Infantry Division, command sergeant major, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade – Kuwait; command sergeant major, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 203rd Engineer Battalion – Afghanistan; first sergeant, Company B, 110th Engineer Combat Battalion; operations sergeant, 135th Support detachment – Iraq; platoon sergeant, Company B, 110th Engineer Combat Battalion Corps, squad leader, Company C, 110th Engineer Battalion; and team leader, Company C, 110th Engineer Battalion.
Stuenkel’s military education includes the Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, First Sergeants Course; Sergeants Major Course, Brigade Pre-Command Course, and Air Assault Course. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Columbia College.
His awards include the Legion of Merit – third award, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal – third award, Army Achievement Medal – second award, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, Iraq Campaign medal with one campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and numerous other awards and decorations.
In his civilian career, Stuenkel owns and operates Stuenkel Brothers Concrete Construction, and Stuenkel Brothers Farms with his brother Mark.