The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank and position is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an army sergeant is serving as the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which case he would be the most senior enlisted man and the SMA will be the second-most senior enlisted member of the army. 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 US 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 to 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 four years. SMA Preston was succeeded by Command Sergeant Major Raymond F. Chandler III, on 1 March 2011.
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 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 advisor 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 MajorWilliam O. Wooldridge of the 1st Infantry Division.
The sergeant major of the army salary for E-9 is $7,816.20 per month plus additional pay and allowances
Sergeant Major of the Army rank insignia 1966-1979
Sergeant Major of the Army rank insignia 1979-1994
Sergeant Major of the Army rank insignia 1994–present
Sergeant Major of the Army branch of service collar insignia
Sergeant Major of the Army cap device
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 a cannibalized aide's insignia and enlisted collar brass. The insignia was approved on 4 July 1966. 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. This insignia is also worn in place of a unit insignia on the SMA's beret, garrison cap, and pull-over sweater. 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. 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). The chief master sergeant of the air force has the same cap device as the SMA, but in silver-colored metal.