Sergeant Major of the Army

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For the Sergeant Major of the South African Army, see Sergeant Major of the Army (South Africa).
Sergeant Major of the
United States Army

Chandler 2012.jpg

Incumbent:
Sergeant Major Raymond F. Chandler
Since: 1 March 2011
First William O. Wooldridge
Formation 11 July 1966 (1966-07-11)
Website www.army.mil/leaders/sma/

SMAFlag-.svg

The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank and position is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an army sergeant is serving as the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which case he would be the most senior enlisted man and the SMA will be the second-most senior enlisted member of the army. The SMA is appointed to serve as a spokesman to address the issues of enlisted soldiers to all officers, from warrant officers and lieutenants to the army's highest positions. As such, they are the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff of the US Army. The exact duties vary depending on the chief of staff, though much of the SMA's time is spent traveling throughout the army, observing training and talking to soldiers and their families.

Kenneth O. Preston held the rank from 15 January 2004,[1] through 28 February 2011, the only incumbent to serve longer than four years. SMA Preston was succeeded by Command Sergeant Major Raymond F. Chandler III, on 1 March 2011.[2]

While the SMA is a non-commissioned officer, the billet is the protocol equivalent of a lieutenant general.[3]

History[edit]

The rank and position were based on those of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, established in its current incarnation on 23 May 1957. The chief of staff of the army created the position in 1966 after asking leaders of the major commands for a personal recommendation. He asked that it not be considered a near retirement type assignment. He listed seven duties and functions he expected the sergeant major to perform, including service as a personal advisor and assistant on matters pertaining to enlisted soldiers. From 4,700 proposed candidates, 21 nominees were selected. Finally chosen was the only one then serving in Vietnam, Sergeant Major William O. Wooldridge of the 1st Infantry Division.[4]

The other services later followed, creating the positions of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force in 1967, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard in 1969, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman in 2005. These six positions are collectively referred to as "senior enlisted advisors" ("SEAs").

Pay grade[edit]

The sergeant major of the army salary for E-9 is $7,816.20 per month plus additional pay and allowances

Insignia[edit]

Sergeant Major of the Army branch of service collar insignia
Sergeant Major of the Army cap device

The sergeant major of the army, like counterparts in the other branches, wears a unique rank insignia, including a unique collar insignia ("brass").


The collar insignia of the SMA is the shield portion of the collar insignia of an aide-de-camp to the Army Chief of Staff (less the surmounting eagle), placed upon an enlisted collar disk of gold color, one inch in diameter. The insignia worn by SMA Wooldridge was hand-soldered by Colonel Jasper J. Wilson from a cannibalized aide's insignia and enlisted collar brass. The insignia was approved on 4 July 1966.[5] Originally, the SMA would wear the device on each collar, but he now wears the standard "U.S." disk on his right collar as do all enlisted soldiers.[6] This insignia is also worn in place of a unit insignia on the SMA's beret, garrison cap, and pull-over sweater.[7] The collar insignia of the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman ("SEAC") of the JCS, approved 2 February 2006, is based directly upon that of the SMA, and features the shield of an aide de camp to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff (without the surmounting eagle), on a gold-colored disk.

The SMA's cap device, worn on the front of the blue service cap (and, formerly, the white service cap; and, until 2011 the green service cap) is a gold-colored rendering of the United States' coat of arms, surrounded by a wreath.[8] The cap device for all other U.S. Army enlisted soldiers is a gold-colored rendering of the United States' coat of arms on a gold-colored disk (males) or surrounded by a gold colored ring (females).[9] The chief master sergeant of the air force has the same cap device as the SMA, but in silver-colored metal.

Positional color[edit]

The Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman are the only members of the United States armed forces below the rank of brigadier general/rear admiral, lower half to be authorized a positional color (flag). First considered in 1992,[10] the SMA's color has been authorized since 22 March 1999.[11] It is based on the design of his collar insignia and the positional flag of the Chief of Staff, Army. Like the SEAC's collar brass, the SEAC's positional color was patterned after the SMA's color.

List of Sergeants Major of the Army[edit]

# Photo SMA[12] Tenure
1. William Wooldridge.jpg William O. Wooldridge July 1966 – August 1968
2. George Dunaway.jpg George W. Dunaway September 1968 – September 1970
3. Slias Copeland.jpg Silas L. Copeland October 1970 – June 1973
4. Leon Van Autreve.jpg Leon L. Van Autreve July 1973 – June 1975
5. William G Bainbridge.jpg William G. Bainbridge July 1975 – June 1979
6. William A Connelly.jpg William A. Connelly July 1979 – June 1983
7. Glen Morrell.jpg Glen E. Morrell July 1983 – July 1987
8. SMA Julius Gates.jpg Julius W. Gates July 1987 – June 1991
9. Richard A. Kidd.jpg Richard A. Kidd July 1991 – June 1995
10. Gene McKinney.jpg Gene C. McKinney July 1995 – October 1997
11. Robert e hall.jpg Robert E. Hall October 1997 – June 2000
12. Jack tilley.jpg Jack L. Tilley June 2000 – January 2004
13. Kennth Preston 2010.jpg Kenneth O. Preston January 2004 – March 2011
14. Chandler 2012.jpg Raymond F. Chandler March 2011 – present

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sergeant Major Kenneth O. Preston - Sergeant Major Army". Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  2. ^ "Chandler to become next Sergeant Major of the Army". Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Department of the Army A Guide to Protocol and Etiquette for Official Entertainment
  4. ^ CSM Daniel K. Elder. "Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army". Retrieved 28 September 2007. [dead link]
  5. ^ Elder, Daniel K. (2003). The Sergeants Major of the Army (Revised ed.). Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History. p. 7. 
  6. ^ Army Regulation 670-1, paras 28-4b, 28-9i(4), 28-10b(32).
  7. ^ AR 670-1, paras 28-22d(1), 28-22f(3).
  8. ^ AR 670-1, para 28-3b(3).
  9. ^ AR 670-1, para 28-3b(4).
  10. ^ Elder, Daniel K. (2003). The Sergeants Major of the Army (Revised ed.). Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History. p. 40. 
  11. ^ U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry [1].
  12. ^ "Former Sergeants Major of the Army". Retrieved 22 September 2007.