Jack L. Tilley

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Jack L. Tilley
Jack tilley.jpg
SMA Jack L. Tilley
Born (1948-12-03) December 3, 1948 (age 68)
Vancouver, Washington
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1966–1969
Rank Army-USA-OR-09a.svg Sergeant Major of the Army
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star with "V" Device
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Army Commendation Medal (2)
Army Achievement Medal (3)

Jack L. Tilley is a highly-decorated military veteran and businessman. He served for almost 37 years in the United States Army, culminating in his appointment in 2000 as the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army, a post he held until his retirement on January 15, 2004. He was the last Vietnam War veteran to serve in that position.

Early life[edit]

Tilley was born in Vancouver, Washington, on December 3, 1948 and enlisted in the United States Army under the "Buddy Program" with his pal Barney Boykin. They both attended basic combat training at Fort Lewis, WA, advanced training at Fort Knox KY, and basic airborne training at Ft Benning, GA.[1]

Military career[edit]

His first assignment was to the Republic of Vietnam with A Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment as a vehicle crewman. Upon completion of his 1-year deployment he was assigned as a drill instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia until his enlistment expired; Tilley left the active duty Army for two years and served in the Reserve Component before enlisting again in the Active Component in September 1971.

He held a variety of important positions culminating in his assignment as the Sergeant Major of the Army. He previously held the senior enlisted position as Senior Enlisted Leader of the United States Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Other assignments he held as Command Sergeant Major were 1st Battalion, 10th Cavalry, Fort Knox, 194th Armored Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, and United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Arlington, Virginia.

Tilley held every key leadership position including tank commander, section leader, drill sergeant, platoon sergeant, senior instructor, operations sergeant and first sergeant. His military education includes the First Sergeants Course and the Sergeants Major Academy. He is a graduate of the basic airborne course, drill sergeant school and the master gunner's course.

Awards and decorations[edit]

United States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg Basic Parachutist Badge
US Army Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge-Generic.png Expert Marksmanship Badge with one weapon bar
10 CAV DUI right.png 10th Cavalry Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
DrillInstructBadge.gif Drill Sergeant Identification Badge
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Presidential Unit Citation
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Valorous Unit Award
Superior Unit Award
Army Good Conduct Medal (12 awards)
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with 2 service stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars
Armed Forces Service Medal
Award numeral 4.png NCO Professional Development with award numeral 4
Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 2.png Overseas Service Ribbon with award numeral 2
NATO Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Post-military career[edit]

Tilley retired from the Army in January 2004 and is currently the Chief Executive of JTilley, Inc., a services company based in Tampa, FL that specializes in placing military leaders into corporate America.[2]


He is the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of the non-profit[3] American Freedom Foundation. This organization creates awareness and building support of their service, sacrifice and needs through partnerships with military focused organizations.[4] The organization also sponsors military career fairs and hiring events regularly in major military areas around the country. These events are usually in conjunction with high-profile concerts or entertainment. Special emphasis is always given to the men and women who were wounded in action (WIA).

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.army.mil/leaders/sma/former/sma_bio12.html".
The Sergeants Major of the Army, Daniel K. Elder, Center of Military History, United States Army Washington, D.C. 2003.

External links[edit]

Media related to Jack L. Tilley at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Robert E. Hall
Sergeant Major of the Army
Succeeded by
Kenneth O. Preston