Carlton W. Kent

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Carlton W. Kent
KentCarlton USMC.jpg
Kent in January 2007
Birth nameCarlton Wayne Kent
Born (1957-11-05) November 5, 1957 (age 61)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1976–2011
RankUSMC-E9-SGMMC.svg Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
UnitUnited States Marine Corps
AwardsNavy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with gold award star
Bronze Star

Carlton Wayne Kent (born November 5, 1957)[1] is a retired United States Marine who served as the 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, assuming the post on April 25, 2007, until June 9, 2011.[2][3][4][5] He succeeded John L. Estrada, who had been serving in that capacity since June 2003. He was succeeded by Micheal Barrett on June 9, 2011.

Early life and education[edit]

Carlton Wayne Kent was born in Memphis, Tennessee on November 5, 1957. He graduated from the South Side High School in Memphis.[6]


Kent completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in March 1976 and was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade.

In May 1978, Kent was transferred to Marine Security Guard Battalion where he served as a Marine Security Guard at Embassies in Kinshasa, Zaire and Panama.

In June 1981, Kent transferred to Fort Benning for Airborne School and Parachute Riggers School at Fort Lee, Virginia. In June 1982, he was assigned as 2nd Air Delivery Platoon Commander, and parachute rigger billets in various commands at Camp Lejeune.

In February 1983, Kent was transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, for duty as a drill instructor, senior drill instructor, and battalion drill master with First Battalion. In January 1985, Kent was meritoriously promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.

In May 1985, Kent transferred to the 3rd Air Delivery Platoon as platoon sergeant. In June 1986, he transferred to Engineer Company, BSSG-1 1st Marine Brigade, Hawaii, as company gunnery sergeant. In March 1988, Kent was assigned to Noncommissioned Officers School, 1st Marine Brigade, as the NCOIC.

In February 1989, Kent transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, as a student at Drill Instructor School. After completion of Drill Instructor School, Kent was assigned to Naval Aviation Officers Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, as a drill instructor, chief drill instructor, and first sergeant. In February 1990, Kent was promoted to first sergeant and assigned as first sergeant, Marine Aviation and Training Support Group, Pensacola, Florida.

In June 1992, he transferred to 4th Marine Regiment for duty. In June 1993, he transferred to the Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas. After graduation, in February 1994 he was transferred and assigned as first sergeant, Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines. In December 1994, he assumed the duties as the sergeant major of the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines.

Kent salutes the grave of Sergeant Major Wilbur Bestwick in February 2009.

In August 1997, Kent was transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, where he was assigned duties as Sergeant Major Second Recruit Training Battalion, and, in September 1999, as Sergeant Major Recruit Training Regiment.

In May 2001, he was transferred to Marine Forces Europe/Fleet Marine Force Europe, Stuttgart, Germany, where he was assigned the duties as the sergeant major of Marine Forces Europe/FMF Europe.

In April 2004, he was transferred to I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as the sergeant major of the I Marine Expeditionary Force.

On January 19, 2007, General James Conway, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, announced that Kent would become the 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, succeeding John L. Estrada.[7] On April 25, 2007, in a ceremony at the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., Kent assumed the top Marine Corps enlisted post.[2] He was succeeded by Micheal Barrett on June 9, 2011, at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Kent is the recipient of the General Gerald C. Thomas Award for inspirational leadership.

Kent is married to "Liz" Kent.[9]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Kent holds the rifle expert (3rd award) and pistol sharpshooter marksmanship badges and eight service stripes.

Medals and ribbons[edit]

United States Navy Parachutist Badge.png
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.png Bronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.png Bronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.png
Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia
1st row Navy Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ 1 award star
2nd row Bronze Star Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 award star Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 1 award star Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ 1 award star
3rd row Combat Action Ribbon Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ 10 service stars
4th row National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal
5th row Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 8 service stars Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 3 service stars Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon w/ 2 service stars Marine Corps Security Guard Ribbon


  1. ^ "Biography: Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent". The History Makers. February 16, 2013. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  2. ^ a b Hoellwarth, John (April 26, 2007). "Kent becomes top enlisted Marine". Marine Corps Times. Archived from the original on 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
  3. ^ Beth Zimmerman (April 10, 2007). "Kent to replace Estrada on April 25". Marine Corps Times. Archived from the original on 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  4. ^ Delai, Marine Corps News, 2007.
  5. ^ "16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps assumes post". United States Marine Corps. April 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-27.[dead link]
  6. ^ Lloyd, Memphis Online, 2006.
  7. ^ Hoellwarth, Marine Corps Times, January 2007.
  8. ^ Cifuentes, Sergeant Michael S. (April 13, 2011). "Commandant announces next Sergeant Major of Marines". Headquarters Marine Corps. United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on April 21, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Keene, R. R.; Guerrero, Clare A. (June 2011). "Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent". Leatherneck. 94 (6). Retrieved 2018-03-05.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
John L. Estrada
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Micheal Barrett