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Sergeant Major of the Army,
United States Army
Incumbent
Kenneth Preston

since January 15, 2004
Formation July 11, 1966
First holder William O. Wooldridge
Website Official Website

The Sergeant Major of the Army is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank is the senior enlisted member of the Army, and is appointed to serve as a spokesman to address the issues of enlisted soldiers 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 travelling throughout the Army, observing training and talking to soldiers and their families. Kenneth O. Preston, the current Sergeant Major, has held the rank since January 15, 2004,[1] the only incumbent to serve longer than four years.

HistoryEdit

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, 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 to the Chief of Staff 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.[2]

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 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2005. These six positions are collectively referred to as "senior enlisted advisors" ("SEAs").

Pay gradeEdit

The Sergeant Major of the Army and the other five SEAs hold pay grade E-9, as all sergeants major and command sergeants major; however, in accordance with 37 U.S.C. § 1009, Schedule 10, an SEA's base pay is US$6,875.10 per month (US$82,501.20 per annum), regardless of the incumbent's service longevity. For comparison, any other E-9, even with the maximum forty years of service, would receive US$6,605.40 per month.[3]

In addition to his base pay and normal tax-free allowances, the SMA and the other SEAs are each entitled to a special tax-free allowance of US$2,000.00 per annum, in accordance with 37 U.S.C. § 414(c).

InsigniaEdit

Sma-bos

Sergeant Major of the Army branch of service collar insignia

File:SMACap1.jpg

The Sergeant Major of the Army, like counterparts in the other branches, wears a unique rank insignia, including a unique collar insignia ("brass").

The SMA's rank insignia, like those of all Army sergeants major, consists of three chevrons above three "rockers". Whereas other sergeants major have one star in the center, the SMA has two. Similarly, the rank insignia of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force each have one star more than other sergeants major, master chiefs, or chief master sergeants of their respective service. Since 1994, the two stars have flanked a rendering of the United States Coat of Arms, as do the stars of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (the stars of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps similarly flank the Marine Corps' emblem). From 1966 until 1979, the Sergeant Major of the Army wore the standard Command Sergeant Major rank insignia.

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 canibalised aide's insignia and enlisted collar brass. The insignia was approved on 4 July 1966.[4] 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.[5] This insignia is also worn in place of a unit insignia on the SMA's beret, garrison cap, and pull-over sweater.[6] 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.[7] 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).[8] The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force has the same cap device as the SMA, but in silver-colored metal.

Positional colorEdit

The Sergeant Major of the Army and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the JCS Chairman are the only members of the United States armed forces below the rank of brigadier general/rear admiral, lower half to be authorised a positional color (flag). First considered in 1992,[9] the SMA's color has been authorized since 22 March 1999.[10] 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 ArmyEdit

Photo SMA[11] Tenure
William Wooldridge William O. Wooldridge 1966-07-11 – 1968 Aug.
George Dunaway George W. Dunaway 1968 Sep. – 1970 Sep.
Slias Copeland Silas L. Copeland 1970 Oct. – 1973 June
Leon Van Autreve Leon L. Van Autreve 1973 July – 1975 June
William G Bainbridge William G. Bainbridge 1975 July – 1979 June
William A Connelly William A. Connelly 1979 July – 1983 June
Glen Morrell Glen E. Morrell 1983 July – 1987 July
SMA Julius Gates Julius W. Gates 1987 July – 1991 June
Richard A. Kidd Richard A. Kidd 1991 July – 1995 June
Gene McKinney Gene C. McKinney 1995 July – 1997 Oct.
Robert e hall Robert E. Hall 1997 Oct. – 2000 June
Jack tilley Jack L. Tilley 2000 June – 2004 Jan.
75px Kenneth O. Preston 2004 Jan. – present

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Sergeant Major Kenneth O. Preston - Sergeant Major Army". http://www.army.mil/leaders/leaders/sma/index.html. Retrieved September 22, 2007. 
  2. CSM Daniel K. Elder. "Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army". https://usasma.bliss.army.mil/NCOJournal/01fall.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  3. 2008 Basic Military Pay Charts
  4. Daniel K. Elder, et al., The Sergeants Major of the Army, Rev. ed., Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History (2003), p. 7.
  5. Army Regulation 670-1, paras 28-4b, 28-9i(4), 28-10b(32).
  6. AR 670-1, paras 28-22d(1), 28-22f(3).
  7. AR 670-1, para 28-3b(3).
  8. AR 670-1, para 28-3b(4).
  9. Elder, p. 40.
  10. U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry [1].
  11. "Former Sergeants Major of the Army". http://www.army.mil/leaders/sma/. Retrieved September 22, 2007. 

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