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Sergeant Major of the Army

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States
Sergeant Major of the Army
Collar of the Sergeant Major of the United States Army.svg
Sergeant Major of the Army left collar brass insignia
Flag of the Sergeant Major of the United States Army.svg
Flag of the SMA
Michael A. Grinston

since 9 August 2019
United States Army
Reports toChief of Staff of the U.S. Army
Formation11 July 1966; 56 years ago (1966-07-11)
First holderWilliam O. Wooldridge
Salary$9,109.50 per month, regardless of the incumbent's service longevity[1]
WebsiteOfficial website

The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is a unique non-commissioned rank and position of office in the United States Army. The holder of this rank and position is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army enlisted Soldier is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. The SMA is appointed to serve as a spokesman to address the issues of enlisted soldiers to all officers, from warrant officers and lieutenants to the Army's highest positions. As such, they are the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. The exact duties vary depending on the chief of staff, though much of the SMA's time is spent traveling throughout the Army, observing training and talking with soldiers and their families.

Kenneth O. Preston held the rank from 15 January 2004 through 28 February 2011, the only incumbent to serve longer than five years.[2] SMA Michael A. Grinston has held the office since 9 August 2019.[3][4]

While the SMA is a non-commissioned officer, protocol places the SMA higher than all lieutenant generals[5] (except for the Director of the Army Staff) and equivalent to a general for formal courtesies in addition to seating, billeting, transportation, and parking.


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).[6] The Chief of Staff of the 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 adviser and assistant 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.[7]

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, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman in 2005, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force in 2020. These seven positions are collectively referred to as "senior enlisted advisors" ("SEAs").


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

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 the cannibalized insignia and enlisted collar brass of an aide. The insignia was approved on 4 July 1966.[9] 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.[10] This insignia is also worn in place of a unit insignia on the SMA's beret, garrison cap, and pull-over sweater.[11] 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.

Sergeant Major of the Army cap device
Sergeant Major of the Army cap device

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.[12] 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).[13] The chief master sergeant of the Air Force has the same cap device as the SMA, but in silver-colored metal.

Positional color

The Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force, and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman are the only members of the United States armed forces below the rank of brigadier general/rear admiral, lower half to be authorized a positional color (flag). First considered in 1992,[14] the SMA's color has been authorized since 22 March 1999.[15] 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 Army

No. Portrait SMA[16] Took office Left office Time in office CSA
1Wooldridge, WilliamWilliam O. Wooldridge
11 July 196631 August 19682 years, 51 daysHarold K. Johnson
William C. Westmoreland
2Dunaway, GeorgeGeorge W. Dunaway
1 September 196830 September 19702 years, 29 daysWilliam C. Westmoreland
3Copeland, SilasSilas L. Copeland
1 October 197030 June 19732 years, 272 daysWilliam C. Westmoreland
Bruce Palmer Jr. (acting)
Creighton W. Abrams
4Autreve, LeonLeon L. Van Autreve
1 July 197330 June 19751 year, 364 daysCreighton W. Abrams
Frederick C. Weyand
5Bainbridge, WilliamWilliam G. Bainbridge
1 July 197530 June 19793 years, 364 daysFrederick C. Weyand
Bernard W. Rogers
Edward C. Meyer
6Connelly, WilliamWilliam A. Connelly
1 July 197930 June 19833 years, 364 daysEdward C. Meyer
7Morrell, GlenGlen E. Morrell
(born 1936)
1 July 198330 June 19873 years, 364 daysJohn A. Wickham Jr.
Carl E. Vuono
8Gates, JuliusJulius W. Gates
(born 1941)
1 July 198730 June 19913 years, 364 daysCarl E. Vuono
Gordon R. Sullivan
9Kidd, RichardRichard A. Kidd
(born 1943)
1 July 199116 June 19953 years, 350 daysGordon R. Sullivan
10McKinney, GeneGene C. McKinney
(born 1950)
30 June 199513 October 19972 years, 105 daysGordon R. Sullivan
Dennis J. Reimer
11Hall, RobertRobert E. Hall
(born 1947)
13 October 199723 June 20002 years, 266 daysDennis J. Reimer
Eric K. Shinseki
12Tilley, JackJack L. Tilley
(born 1948)
23 June 200015 January 20043 years, 206 daysEric K. Shinseki
Peter J. Schoomaker
13Preston, KennethKenneth O. Preston
(born 1957)
15 January 20041 March 20117 years, 45 daysPeter J. Schoomaker
George W. Casey Jr.
14Chandler, RaymondRaymond F. Chandler
(born 1962)
1 March 201130 January 20153 years, 335 daysGeorge W. Casey Jr.
Martin E. Dempsey
Raymond T. Odierno
15Dailey, DanielDaniel A. Dailey
(born 1969)
30 January 20159 August 20194 years, 191 daysRaymond T. Odierno
Mark A. Milley
16Grinston, MichaelMichael A. Grinston
(born 1968)
9 August 2019Incumbent2 years, 346 daysJames C. McConville

See also


  1. ^ "Monthly rates of Basic Pay (Enlisted) – effective January 1, 2020". Defense Financing and Accounting Service. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Sergeant Major Kenneth O. Preston - Sergeant Major Army". Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
  3. ^ "CSM Michael Grinston selected as 16th Sergeant Major of the Army". Washington: U.S. Army. 11 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  4. ^ Rempfer, Kyle (11 June 2019). "Meet the next sergeant major of the Army". Army Times.
  5. ^ Department of the Army A Guide to Protocol and Etiquette for Official Entertainment, 5-4.
  6. ^ "Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps". HQMC. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Sergeants Major of the Army". Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  8. ^ "The end of the Green Service Uniform: 1954-2015". 5 May 2016. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ Elder, Daniel K. (2003). The Sergeants Major of the Army (Revised ed.). Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History. p. 7.
  10. ^ Army Regulation 670-1, paras 28-4b, 28-9i(4), 28-10b(32).
  11. ^ AR 670-1, paras 28-22d(1), 28-22f(3).
  12. ^ AR 670-1, para 28-3b(3).
  13. ^ AR 670-1, para 28-3b(4).
  14. ^ Elder, Daniel K. (2003). The Sergeants Major of the Army (Revised ed.). Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History. p. 40.
  15. ^ U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Former Sergeants Major of the Army". Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2007.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 July 2022, at 12:57
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