Posted on Jul 19, 2015
PVT James Strait
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Sergeant Majors were once rare, now there's a Sergeant Major Academy. When and why did the military decide to create a production line to the highest enlisted rank?
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SGM Eric Lobsinger
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Edited 5 y ago
I think there is some confusion as to just how many SGMs/CSMs are in the Army Inventory. Using 2014 demographics, which are now dated, Active Duty Army SGMs/CSMs made up .067 percent of the force, which is less than 7/10th of "one" percent. In fact, at the time of the survey, there were roughly 650 more active duty COLs than SGMs, which does not include the roughly 300+ BG-GEN. The point is that the SGMs/CSMs receive this extensive training at the end of their careers when they assume the responsibility for the Army's highest enlisted position. Although it may seem to be a huge number to some, it is really a small number of the overall force.
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SMSgt Ed Turney
SMSgt Ed Turney
2 y
Unless things have changed, the E-8 & E-9 grades are determined by law. No more than 1% are to serve in the grade of E-9 and no more than 2% are to be in the E-8 grade. The % is of enlisted, not total force. As far as the"command grades" they are still E-9's and in some cases E-8's. They pay is the same except the 1 E-9 of the UASF, Army, Navy, Marine Corp,. BTW a "Command Chief" does not outrang a regular Chief. TIG buddy,then TIS and lastly Birthday.
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SGM Eric Lobsinger
SGM Eric Lobsinger
2 y
Great comments, which forced me to do a little homework on each branch senior enlisted advisor: So, in order as created by each branch:
1. Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Wilbur Bestwick, May 23, 1957.
2. Sergeant Major of the Army, William O. Wooldridge, 11 July 1966.
3. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Delbert Black, 13 January 1967.
4. Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force; Paul W. Airey, 3 April 1967.
5. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Charles L. Calhoun, August 27, 1969.
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SGM Eric Lobsinger
SGM Eric Lobsinger
2 y
GySgt Lawrence Clark - GySgt Clark,
Great to hear from you. The USMC led the way in establishing the senior enlisted advisor for the services. In order as created by each branch:
1. Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Wilbur Bestwick, 23 May 1957.
2. Sergeant Major of the Army, William O. Wooldridge, 11 July 1966.
3. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Delbert Black, 13 January 1967.
4. Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force; Paul W. Airey, 3 April 1967.
5. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Charles L. Calhoun, 27 August 1969.
Take care,
Eric
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CSM Charles Hayden
CSM Charles Hayden
3 mo
GySgt Gregory Robeson A Master Gunnery Sergeant is not assigned to Marine Combat Battalions?
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SGM Brigade Operations (S3) Sergeant Major
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That's a damn good question. I could ask the same about LTCs and COLs. You would be amazed at how many SGMs there are in a division or corps staff, it is ridiculous. If the Army got rid of all those positions the draw down would be complete....and I don't think it would effect the Army one bit.
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MAJ Rn
MAJ (Join to see)
3 y
Some branches get top heavy. That was the case with the army nurse corps. We go thru cycles. Trim it back, boot them out then later wonder why you have inadequate numbers for HRC. Some years back I read we have higher number of colonels than we did during WW2. Then the army was far larger yet we were able to operate with fewer O5s? Strange times indeed. When I was assigned to (but not tabbed) at 3rd Bn of 5th SF at Campbell we seemed to have an abundance of CSMs. Ops sergeant major, and others too far back to recall.
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2LT All Source Intelligence
2LT (Join to see)
2 y
If we just go rid of them, we would be getting rid of a lot of great knowledge and leadership. That we would need down the pipeline.
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SGT Ammunition Section Chief
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2LT (Join to see) One answer to that would be to do the same thing as with senior officers that can't go higher, offer them the chance to become warrants
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CW2 Field Artillery Targeting Technician
CW2 (Join to see)
>1 y
SGT (Join to see) - They already do. I had a previous O2 and a previous O4 in my WO Basic Bourse. It's not all that uncommon, I know O5s that have done it.
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CSM Michael J. Uhlig
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I think the CSM/SGM's are out more often today, which makes it seem like there are more of them. There can only be 1% E-9s. Todays process for making SGM (and/or eventually)/CSM is the select-train-promote methodology (which takes about three years). Selected the first year, sent to USASMA for school (the second year) and receive a promotion sequence number (upon successful graduation). Many that achieve the rank of CSM or SGM will stay the minimum time to retire, there are some high demands for our senior enlisted leaders as there should be so many will stay for the required three years to retire. I will come back to share some more info if needed.

Here's a link to get some more info:
https://usasma.bliss.army.mil
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CSM Charles Hayden
CSM Charles Hayden
2 y
CSM Michael J. Uhlig During a 14 day TDY at Ft Carson in 1972, I met the CSM of our
(Sister Bn), once!

I was acquainted many of the NCOs and Staff of ?/??, but only once saw the CSM.

That is when the Army was in distress and the CQs and ODs were armed if they went into barracks at Ft Carson after hours.

NO ONE was checking on Soldier’s welfare! I observed toilets in the old wooden barracks that I would decline to use.

I did not communicate my dismay to 4th ID CSM Cold Iron. Division G-2/3 did pick up on them, to what avail I don’t know.

Bottom line: in 1972 Active Army was in a world of Hurt!
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CSM Luis Lebron
CSM Luis Lebron
2 y
SP5 Dave Westbury - Funny, but it's never really about the grass. I thought that when I was a young private in Fort Sill. Sometimes people confuse the tool being used with the lesson being taught.
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SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
2 y
Its good You mentioned the 1% of the total force for E9 positions per law. The only other enlisted rank a percentage applies to is E8 with 2.5% of the total force. That in and of itself restricts the number of people that can be promoted to either of those two grades. That also isn't just the Army the same rule applies to each branch of the service.
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CSM Retired Csm/Soldier For Life
CSM (Join to see)
2 y
CSM Ukigawa I agree we are few in numbers but we are getting out more to be with our Soldiers while they train. That was my biggest deal as a CSM was to be out amongst my Soldier’s as they trained, learned about there skill set and their need to be ready for deployments. As a CSM for 15 years prior to retirement I saw my best challenge was to ensure are great Soldier’s were ready to deploy in every way. More overall their families, friends and spouses were also ready for the upcoming deployment. The CSM/ SGM ranks have special and different duties but working at Command levels from BN and upward have key roles in providing guidance and direction to the CMD Team and their Soldier’s under their CMD.
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