William A. Connelly

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William A. Connelly
William A Connelly.jpg
SMA William A. Connelly
Born (1931-06-02) June 2, 1931 (age 83)
Monticello, Georgia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1954-1983
Rank Sergeant Major of the Army
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze Star with V Device
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Air Medal with V Device

William A. Connelly was the sixth Sergeant Major of the Army. He was sworn in on July 2, 1979, and served until June, 1983. He was born in Monticello, Georgia, on June 2, 1931. He is best known for removing the specialist ranks of Specialist 5 through Specialist 7. Ordered to active duty in March 1954, he was a tank crewman, tank commander, platoon sergeant and First Sergeant in the 761st Tank Battalion, 3rd Armored Division at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The first of his four tours in Europe was with the 826th Tank Battalion at Hammelburg and Schweinfurt, Germany, from January 1955 until November 1956. The 826th returned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where Sergeant Major Connelly served as an Operations Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant until August 1958. He returned to Europe, serving as Platoon Sergeant with the 2/67th Armor, 4th Armored Division in Fürth, Germany, from August 1958 through September 1961. He was back in CONUS at Fort Stewart, Georgia, as a Platoon Sergeant with the 3d Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor for less than 30 days when that unit was sent to Germany as part of the build up during the Berlin crisis.

Sergeant Major Connelly remained in Augsburg serving as a Platoon Sergeant with the 3/32d Armor until November 1962. He then moved to Munich, Germany, as a First Sergeant and Operations Sergeant in the 32nd Tank Battalion, and 24th Infantry Division. Back at Fort Stewart, Georgia, in August 1964, Sergeant Major Connelly served as First Sergeant of Company C, 4th Battalion, 68th Armor, 2d Infantry Division. In October 1965, his company was ordered to the Dominican Republic and remained there until July 1966. In January 1967, Sergeant Major Connelly assumed duties as Chief Enlisted Advisor to the Cavalry Squadron or the Georgia National Guard, headquartered in Griffin, Georgia.

His combat duty in Vietnam was as First Sergeant of Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division from October 1969 to November 1970. From then until May 1973, Sergeant Major Connelly served at Fort Knox, Kentucky as First Sergeant of the reception Station and several companies of the First Training Brigade as well as Sergeant Major of the 1st and 2d Battalions. Upon graduation he was assigned to Germany for his fourth European tour. Sergeant Major Connelly initially served as Sergeant major of the 1/35th Armor, 1st Armored Division at Erlangen. In June 1975, he became Sergeant Major of the Seventh Army Training Command Grafenwöhr and in July 1976, became Sergeant Major of the 1st Armored division at Ansbach. From that position, he was nominated and selected to the position of Sergeant Major of the United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia, in July 1977.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
ArmyAvitBadge.gif Army Aircrewman Badge
Army Distinguished Service Medal
V
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with Valor device and two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
V
Air Medal with Valor Device
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Army Good Conduct Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars
Gold star
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with campaign star
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Military offices
Preceded by
William G. Bainbridge
Sergeant Major of the Army
1979—1983
Succeeded by
Glen E. Morrell

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