Daniel K. Elder

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Daniel K. Elder
Cmd. Sgt. Maj Daniel K. Elder
Nickname(s) topsarge; mole
Born 1961 (age 53–54)
Norwich, CT
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1981-2008
Rank Command Sergeant Major
Battles/wars Bosnia (IFOR), Iraq War (CJTF-7, MNC-I)
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star
Drill Sergeant Badge
Other work President and Chief Consultant, Topsarge Business Solutions

Command Sergeant Major Daniel Keith Elder is a retired United States Army Noncommissioned Officer who served as the 12th Senior Enlisted Advisor, United States Army Materiel Command (CSM USAMC) from 2005 to 2008. With a background as a maintenance technician, his final assignment placed him as the most senior enlisted logistician and one of only a few Ordnance soldiers to be assigned as command sergeant major of an Army Command (ACOM). He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit twice, and was inducted to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Hall of Fame.

Military career[edit]

Born with the surname Brodeur on October 19, 1961 in Norwich, Connecticut,[1] Elder was raised in San Bernardino, California, and joined the Army through the Delayed Entry Program in December 1981 as an enlisted soldier. He attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and graduated in the Ordnance Corps as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle Mechanic, military occupational specialty 63T.[2] He is a graduate of the US Army Sergeants Major Academy, Class 48, the Command Sergeants Major Force Management Course, and the Joint Forces Command KEYSTONE Command Senior Enlisted Leader course, National Defense University. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Touro University, Cypress, California.

Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Elder held a wide variety of important enlisted positions, culminating with his assignment as the Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Materiel Command, one of three of the US Army Major Commands and second only to the Sergeant Major of the Army. Other key assignments include: Command Sergeant Major of the 13th Support Command, Fort Hood, Texas; and as the Command Sergeant Major of the multi-component brigade, 3rd Brigade, 75th Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.[3] He was selected to serve as the Command Sergeant Major of the Transition Team for then incoming US Army Chief of Staff George W. Casey, Jr. in 2007. He also served as an Army Test Program Advisory Team (ATPAT) Member for the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences[4] and as a committee member of the US Army Future NCO Workshop held by RAND's Arroyo Center in 1997.[4]

Elder's career initially was technically focused as he served in maintenance positions as an Army mechanic. He earned certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in both Automotive and Truck specialties, as the Army had no similar opportunities. He served as a mechanic (2/30th Infantry Battalion), Recovery Vehicle Operator (2/34th Infantry Battalion), Company Motor Sergeant (D Co, 1/36th Infantry), HHC Brigade Motor Sergeant (3rd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division) and as Battalion Motor Sergeant (3/12th Infantry Battalion). He was a Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) instructor at the Maintenance Department of the US Army Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky teaching schematics and troubleshooting techniques for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle turret system. He was selected as a drill instructor for the Armor School's Advanced Individual Training. He went on to serve as a First Sergeant for D Co. 123rd Main Support Battalion in Baumholder, Germany, and as a Battalion Sergeant Major for the 541st Maintenance Battalion, Fort Riley, Kansas. His operational deployment experience included OPERATION Joint Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina and OPERATION Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.

Decorations and badges[edit]

U.S. military decorations
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster)
Bronzestar rib.png Bronze Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Silver oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal (with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Good Conduct ribbon.svg Army Good Conduct Medal
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal (with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters)
U.S. unit awards
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Superior Unit Award
U.S. service (campaign) medals and service and training ribbons
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with one bronze service star)
AFEMRib.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal ribbon.svg Armed Forces Service Medal
Outstanding Volunteer Service ribbon.svg Volunteer Service Medal
NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg NATO Medal
Award numeral 4.png NCO Professional Development Ribbon (with award numeral 4)
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 4.png Army Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral "4")
U.S. badges, patches and tabs
DrillInstructBadge.gif Drill Sergeant Badge
DandMBadge (Small).jpg Driver and Mechanic Badge
Ordnance Corps Regimental Insignia.gif Ordnance Corps (United States Army)
13ESCSSI.svg 13th Sustainment Command patch

worn as his Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (US Army)-Former War Time Service (SSI-FWTS).

2 Overseas Service Bars

Command Sgt. Maj. Elder is also the recipient of the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe and the Transportation Corps Order of Saint Christopher. He was inducted into the US Army Sergeants Major Academy Hall of Honor and is the first recipient of the 13th Sustainment Command Hall of Fame. In May 2012 he was inducted into the US Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame at Ft Lee, VA.[5]

Online communities[edit]

Elder (and later a team of volunteers he headed) spawned a grass-roots revolution[6] in the US Army in 1991 by encouraging noncommissioned officers to use personal computers and the internet to collaborate and share military information and knowledge through the use of a Bulletin Board System military community.[7] He eventually moved the project to the World Wide Web and built a themed portal called the NCO Website[6] for US Army Noncommissioned Officers. The site matured and spun off two anchor sites, Squad-leader.com and Firstsergeant.com, and finally NCOTeam.org. Then Sergeant Major of the Army Jack L. Tilley endorsed the concepts of sites like those for NCOs, and his staff took part in a US Army CIO/G-6 project to acquire the sites for formal adoption. Elder was awarded the first-ever Army Knowledge Management AKM Pioneer Award by the Army Chief Information Officer for his and his team's work.[8]

Because of the sites success,[9] and the volunteer teams desire to provide security to the professional discussions, Elder donated the site to the newly formed Battle Command Knowledge System in 2005, which was charged with managing online communities for the Army. The site was awarded a Knowledge Management Award in 2007 for excellence in migration.[10]

Author and researcher[edit]

A noted and cited military historian and researcher, Elder is the curator of the NCO Historical Society, a virtual archive of artifacts and documents relating to the history of the U.S. Army noncommissioned officer. He was the general editor and author of the second edition of the book The Sergeants Major of the Army, published by the United States Army Center of Military History. He was consulted with by the authors of Shake and Bake Sergeant, by Dr. Jerry Horton; the Three Meter Zone by Cmd Sgt Major JD Pendry; and Guardians of the Republic (2nd Edition) by Dr. Ernest Fisher. He is the author of a number of monographs on NCO History, along with the book Educating Noncommissioned Officers. He is the author of the informal NCO Induction Ceremony, as described in FM 7-22-7 - Army NCO Noncommissioned Officer Guide, Appendix F.[11] Elder also made the original design proposal for the collar brass and positional colors of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[12] In July 2015 his book The NCO Guide, 10th Edition will be published by Stackpole Books of Mechanicsburg, PA.[13]

Post military career[edit]

Immediately after retirement, Elder worked for Computer Sciences Corporation as a Knowledge Management Consultant. He later formed Topsarge Business Solutions where he served as the owner and Chief Consultant until October 2011. He was selected as a Senior Fellow for the Association of the United States Army in 2009 and is an advisor for the US Army Noncommissioned Officer Museum Association at Fort Bliss, Texas. Elder was inducted into the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy "Hall of Honor" on August 12, 2010 in El Paso, Texas.[14] He holds a Master Certified Knowledge Management Professional (MKMP) certification awarded on April 11, 2011 by the Knowledge Management Professional Society (KMPro) and is also a KMPro Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM).[15] Elder is currently a small business owner for his private consultant firm Topsarge Business Solutions,[16] located in Killeen, TX.

Elder is married to the former Gloria D. Reese of Blythe, California. They have two daughters, Danielle, a first-grade teacher; and Courtney, a Lt. j.g. (O-2) in the U.S. Coast Guard.[17]

See also[edit]



 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "[2]". AMC Command Sergeants Major Perspectives and the Global War on Terrorism, Office of the Historian, US Army Materiel Command