Sergeant Major of the Army


Sergeant Major of the Army

The Sergeant Major of the Army is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank and post is the senior enlisted member of the Army, and is appointed to serve as spokesperson to address the issues of enlisted soldiers to the Army's highest positions. As such, he or she is the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff of the US Army. His exact duties vary, depending on the Chief of Staff, though he generally devotes much of his time to traveling throughout the Army observing training, and talking to soldiers and their families. Kenneth O. Preston has held the rank since January 15, 2004. [cite web | title="Sergeant Major Kenneth O. Preston - Sergeant Major Army" | url=http://www.army.mil/leaders/leaders/sma/index.html | accessdate= September 22 | accessyear= 2007 ] Despite the unique duties of this position, the Sergeant Major of the Army is classified as a non-commissioned officer (NCO) and, as such, must salute all commissioned officers and warrant officers.

History

The rank and position were based upon those of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, established in its current incarnation on 23 May 1957, then the Chief of Staff, Army, created the position in 1966 after asking commanders of the major commands for a personal recommendation. He asked that it not be considered a contest or 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 those matters pertaining to enlisted soldiers. Johnson whittled the 4,700 candidates down to 21 nominees and then selected the only one then serving in Vietnam, the Sergeant Major of the 1st Infantry Division, William O. Wooldridge. [cite web | url=http://www.bliss.army.mil/usasma/Journal/publications/2001/2001_fall_sma_history.htm|accessdate=2007-09-28|author = CSM Daniel K. Elder|title=Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army] The other services soon followed, creating the counterpart positions of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy & 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. The six positions are generically or collectively referred to as "senior enlisted advisors" ("SEAs").

Pay Grade

The Sergeant Major of the Army and the other five SEAs nominally hold pay grade E-9, like 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), as of 2008, irresepective of the incumbent's service longevity. By comparison, a typical E-9, even with the maximum forty years of service, would be paid US$6,605.40 per month. [ [http://www.navycs.com/08militarypaychart.html 2008 Basic Military Pay Charts] ] 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).

Insignia

Like his counterparts in the other services, the Sergeant Major of the Army wears unique rank insignia and, like his Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and JCS counterparts, unique collar insignia ("brass"). The SMA's rank insignia, like those of all Army sergeants major, features three chevrons above three rockers. Whereas other sergeants major have one star in the center, however, 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 each's 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 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. Indeed, the insignia worn by SMA Wooldridge was hand-soldered by General Johnson's special projects officer, Colonel Jasper J. Wilson, from canibalised aide's insignia and enlisted collar brass. The insignia was approved on 4 July 1966. [Elder, Daniel K., "et al.", "The Sergeants Major of the Army", Rev. ed., Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center for Military History (2003), p. 7.] Originally, the SMA would wear the device on each collar, but that has since changed such that he wears the standard "U.S." disk on his right collar like all other enlisted soldiers. [Army Regulation 670-1, paras 28-4"b", 28-9"i"(4), 28-10"b"(32).] This insignia is also worn in place of distinctive unit insignia on the SMA's beret, garrison cap and pull-over sweater. [AR 670-1, paras 28-22"d"(1), 28-22"f"(3).] 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 (again, without the surmounting eagle), upon a gold-colored disk. The SMA cap device, worn on the front of the blue service cap (and, formerly, the white service cap; and, until its 2011 wear-out date, the green service cap) is a gold-colored rendering of the United States' coat of arms, surrounded by a wreath. [AR 670-1, para 28-3"b"(3).] Conversely, the cap device for all other U.S. Army enlisted soldiers is the gold-colored rendering of the United States' coat of arms, placed upon a gold-colored disk (males) or surrounded by a gold colored ring (females). [AR 670-1, para 28-3"b"(4).] The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force has the same cap device as the SMA, albeit in silver-colored metal.

Positional color

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, [Elder, p. 40.] the SMA's color has been authorized since 22 March 1999. [U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry [http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Flags_Guidons/SergeantMajoroftheArmyFlag.htm] .] It is based upon the design of his collar insignia and the positional flag of the Chief of Staff, Army. Like the SEAC collar brass, the SEAC color was patterned after the SMA color.

Roll of Sergeants Major of the Army

ee also

* Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
* Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
* Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
* Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
* Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

References


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