NCOs training new inductees on how to salute
Famous NCOs - A listing of noteworthy Noncommissioned Officers, not all inclusive. Please submit your suggestions for inclusions to this list so we can better capture the importance of the US Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps. Suggest a Noncommissioned Officer (one-click)
Senior NCOs on the Vietnam Memorial Wall
Sgt Maj Bette Adams
First woman assigned to Vietnam.
Cmd Sgt Maj Jerry T. Alley
One of two "co-Interim" Sergeants Major of the Army when the 10th Sergeant Major of the Army was removed. Served as the Forces Command Command Sergeant Major. Also see James C. McKinney.
Cmd Sgt Maj Alexander Anderson
CSM Alexander S. Anderson (1919–1975 )was born on November 12, 1919. He was one of the first African-American paratroopers and served in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. According to George L. Washington, director of pilot training at Tuskegee, Anderson executed the first parachute jump at Tuskegee and later became a pioneer in the use of parachutes. On March 25, 1940, Anderson received one of the highest scores on the standard written examination required of all CPTP students at Tuskegee and was featured in the March 1941 edition of Popular Aviation.
Cmd Sgt Maj Leroy Arceneaux
Command Sergeant Major at 30 years old. CSM Leroy Arceneaux, CSM at 30 years old (Redstone Arsenal)
Sgt Maj Knox Bellingham
Knox Bellingham who served as a First Sergeant for 15 years and was crowned by Army Times as the champion First Sergeant in 1959. Interviewed by Today Show host Dave Garroway in 1957.
Sgt Daniel Bissell
Of the 2d Connecticut ,was one of three awardees of the Badge of Military Merit badge, awarded for "any singularly meritorious Action." It was the "Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding." and was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit. The Badge specifically honored the junior ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. Also see: Brown and Bissell.
Spec 5 Janice Blackwell
First female Jumpmaster.
Sgt William Brown
Of the 2d Connecticut, was one of three awardees of the Badge of Military Merit badge, awarded for "any singularly meritorious Action." It was the "Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding." and was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit. The Badge specifically honored the junior ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. Also see: Churchill and Bissell.
Sgt Elijah Churchill
Of the 5th Connecticut Regiment, was one of three awardees of the Badge of Military Merit badge, awarded for "any singularly meritorious Action." It was the "Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding." and was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit. The Badge specifically honored the junior ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. Also see: Brown and Bissell.
Sgt Maj Kenneth W. Cooper
Former 1st Cav Div Sgt Maj at the time his was killed on Jul 7, 1970 along with 1st Cav Div Cdr Maj Gen George Casey Sr.
Sgt. Curtis G. Culin III
A Guard member of New Jersey’s 102nd Cavalry Squadron, Sgt. Culin develops the idea of taking the iron road obstacles placed by the retreating Germans, fabricating them into a ‘plow’ affixed to the front of a tank that then allows it to ‘cut’ its way through hedgerows in WWII. This allowed the tanks to break through in any unpredictable location, confounding the enemy’s traps. Known as “rhino tanks” more than 300 were equipped and help to speed up the Allied advance. Sergeant Culin was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for his idea.
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Cmd Sgt Maj Theodore (Ted) Dobol
Command Sergeant Major Ted Dobol, who served with the 26th Infantry Regiment from 1940 to 1966. First NCO promoted to Sgt Maj.
Cmd Sgt Maj William J. Gainey
First Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
1st Sgt Henry Hogan
Recipient of two medals of honor. 1st Sgt Henry Hogan, Double MOH awardee
Sgt Maj Carolyn H. James
The Military Pay Bill of 1958, added grades E-8 and E-9 to the enlisted ranks; After this law was passed in 1959, Sgt Maj James became the first in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) promoted to grade E-8. Therefore, she was the first WAC promoted to master sergeant (or first sergeant). In 1960, she was the first WAC promoted to sergeant major, E-9, while assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Air Defense Command, Colorado Springs
Sgt Heather L. Johnsen
First woman to earn the tomb guard identification badge, March 1996.
Sgt Maj William McBryar
McBryar was an African American who first served in the 10th Cavalry in Arizona. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1890 for his part in the capture of a group of Apaches who had retreated to a cave after a five-day, 200-mile pursuit. Under fire, McBryar maneuvered to a position where he could ricochet his bullets into the cave, forcing surrender. His was the first Medal of Honor awarded to a 10th Cavalry Soldier. Article: NCOs Inducted in to the Leavenworth Hall of Fame.
SMA Gene C. McKinney
10th Sergeant Major of the Army, the first African-American to serve at the post. First to be removed from office.
Cmd Sgt Maj James C. McKinney,
One of two "co-Interim" Sergeants Major of the Army when the 10th Sergeant Major of the Army (who was his twin brother) was removed. Served as the Training and Doctrine Command Command Sergeant Major. Also see Jerry T. Alley
Cmd Sgt Maj Jeffrey Mellinger
Last Vietnam draftee on Active duty
Sgt Maj Florence G. Munson
The First Sergeant Major of the WAC Training Battalion (1959-64) Sgt. Maj. Munson was honored by having the headquarters and classroom building for the WAC Training Battalion dedicated in her honor in October 1965. She was the only WAC to have a building named for her at the Ft McClellan WAC Center. She also went on to become the first WAC Action Officer on the General Staff.
Cmd Sgt Maj Yzetta Nelson
Cmd Sgt Maj. Yzetta Nelson First female CSM
Sgt John Ordway
The United States Army now has its first statue to a named enlisted soldier. Sergeant John Ordway was the first sergeant of the famed Lewis and Clark Corps of Volunteers for Northwest Discovery. Army's first Statue to a named enlisted Soldier.
Sgt Maj Hugh O'Reilly
Hugh O'Reilly formed a famous relationship between the 27th US Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds" and the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan. The movie "Three Stripes in the Sun" was made by Columbia Pictures in 1955 based on Sgt Maj O'Reilly.
Cpl Calvin Titus Pearl
Cpl Pearl was the last American standard-bearer. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Boxer Rebellion and went on to become one of the US Army's first chaplains assistants.
Cmd Sgt Maj Basil L. Plumley
Plumley served as the Sergeant Major of 1/7 Cav in the I Drang Valley alongside his commander then-LTC Hal Moore at LZ XRay and memorialized in the book and movie We Were Soldiers Once, and Young. He and Moore served together as Sergeant-Major and Commander for over two years at Fort Benning and in Vietnam. Plumley made all four combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne in World War II and one in Korea. Received three awards of the Combat Infantryman's Badge and a number of awards, including two Silver Stars.
1st Sgt Pascal C. Poolaw
First Sergeant Pascal C. Poolaw is the most decorated Indian soldier in the US military, he was full-blooded Kiowa. Among his medals are four Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars. He also earned three Purple Hearts, one for each of the wars in which he fought, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. 1SG Poolaw was killed attempting to rescue his Battalion Commander and his staff from an overwhelming enemy assault. As 1SG Poolaw was carrying a wounded soldier to safety, he was struck by a rocket propelled grenade and killed. For his heroic actions 1SG Poolaw was awarded his fourth Silver Star and third Purple Heart posthumously.
Sgt Elvis A. Presley
During his active military career Presley served as a member of two different armor battalions. Between March 28 and September 17, 1958, he belonged to Company A, 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. During this assignment he completed basic and advanced military training. History of Elvis Presley's military career, CMH
Cmd Sgt Maj Cynthia Pritchett
The first female command sergeant major of a sub-unified combatant command. First female nominated to compete for Sergeant Major of the Army. Article: Ground-breaking senior NCO shares her experiences
Cmd Sgt Maj Mark Ripka
First SEA to AFRICOM, second SEA for JFCOM.
1st Sgt George Washington Roosevelt
First Sergeant George Washington Roosevelt (Uncle of President Theodore Roosevelt and Grandfather of Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.)
1st Sgt John Ryan,
In late 1861, 16-year-old John Ryan of West Newton, Massachusetts, enlisted for three years in the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, thus beginning a lengthy Army career that extended to December 1876 and included 10 years in the U.S. Cavalry Regiment on the Plains under legendary Lt. Col. George A. Custer. John Ryan saw many "hard sights" in some 45 battlefields during the Civil War as well as on the Plains against Indians at Washita and the Little Bighorn rivers. He returned to his home in 1876 to live out another 50 years. Custer's First Sergeant John Ryan
Cpl Paul Scaletta
Last awardee of Certificate of Merit, awarded on 5 May 1918
SGT Dan Silverman
Designed the first recognized shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) for the 81st Division during WW I.
CPL Freddie Stowers
Freddie Stowers was the only African American to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in World War I. Stowers had led an assault on German trenches, continuing to lead and encourage his men even after being twice wounded. Stowers died of his wounds, and was shortly afterwards recommended for the Medal of Honor; however, this recommendation was never processed. In 1990, the Department of the Army conducted a review and the Stowers recommendation was uncovered. An investigation was launched, and based on results of the investigation the award of the Medal of Honor was approved. Stowers' Medal of Honor was presented on April 24, 1991—seventy-three years after he was killed-in-action.
CSM Lynell Sullivan
First female nominative command sergeant serving a two-star general at the Industrial Operations Command, reported in the NCO Journal.
Sgt Maj Joseph A. Venable
On 11 Sep 1968 elements of the 1st Infantry Division got into a developing engagement at Loc Ninh in Binh Long Province. Two days into the three-day fight, on 13 Sep 1968, B Company, 1st Aviation Battalion, provided the command and control helicopter (UH-1H tail number 67-17552) for the Division's Commanding General, Major General Keith L. Ware and Division Sergeant Major, Sgt Maj Joe Venable. The Huey was carrying a crew of four and the CG's party of four passengers when it exploded in mid-air and crashed southeast of Loc Ninh with no survivors.
SSG Skeezix Wallet
Skeezix is a character in the comic series Gasoline Alley. Gasoline Alley is a long-running comic strip created by Frank King and first published on November 24, 1918. Widely recognized as an innovative pioneering strip, Gasoline Alley was the first to depict its characters aging through generations as the decades progressed. Enlisted in June 1942; Enroute from Naples to a mission in the Balkans survived a plane crash into the Adriatic and was rescued by Nazi resistance fighters. Reunited with US forces, promoted to sergeant, and reassigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations. Discharged October 1945 after three-and-a-half years’ service and with 89 points. [Registry]
Sgt Maj William (Billy) Waugh
Awarded eight purple heart medals (tied for highest number of PH medals) and 3 Silver Star medals. An SF legend.
Sgt Samuel Woodfill
Samuel Woodfill enlisted in the Regular Army in 1898 and saw combat during the Philippine Insurrection. He was made a reserve lieutenant in 1917 and won the Medal of Honor while leading his company against numerous German machine gun positions around Cunel on 14 October 1918. After the war Woodfill reverted to the rank of master sergeant to safeguard his pension.
SMA William O. Wooldridge
First Sergeant Major of the Army. First NCO promoted to CSM.
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