Wanna cut Defense? Cut the SMA

| December 28, 2012

The El Paso Times has an article on the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss which reminds me of how much I dislike sergeant majors. If ever there was a waste of money, it’s that God-awful “school” for police call inspectors. I’ve seen perfectly good first sergeants (or should call them firsts sergeant?) attend and come back utter morons.

Most of the work is classroom-based with seminars, lectures and small-group studies. Students also go on a field trip to Columbus, N.M., and study Pancho Villa’s infamous raid into the United States.

To graduate, Malloy said, soldiers have to get at least an 80 percent in the leadership part of the course and 70 percent in the other four areas to graduate.

“We’re recognized as the pinnacle of noncommissioned officer education throughout the world,” Malloy said. “That’s why we get a lot of international students.”

Why would a sergeant major go on a staff ride? Did Pancho Villa leave cigarette butts on his trail? Yeah, it’s my considered opinion that sergeant major is the most useless rank and position in the Army. I know they think they’re the senior enlisted adviser to their commander, but what do they really do?

The turd with whom I went to Desert Storm was nothing but the headquarters company E-4 Mafia’s enforcer. He’d be out of breath walking out to battalion PT and of course we’d all have to run at his pace in formation and I could crawl faster. He had his favorites and protected them from any amount of discipline and work. He busted his ass to make sure that “NCO Time” was a complete waste of training schedule. And why make the E7s and E8s at battalion headquarters do anything commensurate with their rank when you can jerk a line platoon sergeant away from his troops to do it?

Yeah, if the Army wants to cut personnel, cut out Master Sergeant and staff Sergeant Major ranks, tell those staff pukes they have to take over a line unit and watch them beat feet towards retirement. Manpower problem solved.

Category: Big Army

Comments (89)

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  1. Dave Thul says:

    Jonn, if we cut back on training for sergeant major ranks, how in God’s name are we going to ensure that our soldiers in combat areas are correctly wearing their reflective belts?

    Policing up cigarette butts is a peacetime affair, and besides I don’t think smoking is legal in the Army anymore.

  2. Mr. Twisted says:


    You beat me to the reflective belt comment. We would be at a huge tactical disadvantage without those.

  3. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Yeah, I guess we’d never know when to roll our sleeves down without SGMs. What was I thinking?

  4. BamBam says:

    In Kandahar we had literally roving bands of SGMs whose sole purpose was to check uniforms and the like. They saw one of my pilots walking without his weapon in plain sight (had his pistol in a holster under his top) and they yelled “hey do you have a weapon?”

    His response: “yes” and kept walking. They were quite upset with his failure to produce said weapon.

    Sadly I have had few CSMs serve a real purpose in the organization. It’s sad really because its such a repository of information and experience but they typically get too engulfed in this Micky mouse crap that in the end serves little purpose. What a shame.

  5. Setnaffa says:

    It made more sense back when recruits needed the instructions for dumping water out of a boot on the bottom of the heel. Perhaps the current course was designed by the same Harvard MBAs the ran the Mortgage Industry…

  6. Virtual Insanity says:

    Papa Insanity was one of the last to make SGM without going to the academy–they called him after pinning him and told him he needed to go.

    His answer: “Will you take the E-9 away if I don’t go?”

    They said, “Well, no.”

    He said “Fuck you, then.”

    I so love him for that. Of course, I inherited that attitude. It didn’t help me in the officer ranks much. 🙂

  7. Green Thumb says:

    It goes both ways. I have seen SGMs that give a shit and lead by example. On the other hand, I have seen men pin on E-9 and quit, focus on the grass, or avoid deployment (hang out in TRADOC), etc.

    It comes down to the individual.

    I do agree about getting rid of the course. There was a push when I was in to make it more like ILE. I do not know if that went through. Maybe they should just make it on-line. Hell, it would save money.

  8. Trent says:

    Of course, you’re absolutely right about this. For most of my career I’ve have very few positive moments with Sergeants Major and far too many negative ones. And that was just as an enlisted Marine and Soldier.

    Since becoming an officer, its been even worse.

  9. TrapperFrank says:

    You echoed my sentiments exactly! In my 26 of service in the army, I could count on one hand the number of SGM/CSMs that were worth a shit. You could take this a step further and eliminate the SMA position too. Just what in the hell is it he does? SMA Chandler should be an advocate for the enlisted, but it seems he is more interested in lining up folks to throw out of the army during the upcoming drawdown. The folks at Taco Tech (The Sergeants Majors Academy) take really good E8s and ruin them. They do three operations down there, excise all spinal tissue, remove all testicular matter and conduct a total lobotomy. Just my two cents.

  10. E-6type, 1ea says:

    @4 – Saw them in Jalalabad too. When the order came down that combat shirts were no longer allowed in the chow halls, there were two SGMs that helped enforce it. There were four troops who had been medevaced to J-Bad following an IED strike, and all four of them were wearing combat shirts and obviously had no other uniforms. After being “caught” trying to enter the DFAC by the SGMs, they explained their situation, and the SGMs STILL denied them entrance. It took the intervention of a full-bird Colonel who was walking to get them in the DFAC.

  11. martinjmpr says:

    Dude, don’t get me started….

    I’ve always thought that the CSM/SGM rank was a sort of booby prize, like saying “we know you humped a ruck for 20 years, led a squad, then a platoon and finally a company, so now as a prize we’re going to put you in a position where you really have no responsibility but lots of authority and you can just sort of walk around and tell people what to do, as long as everything you order them to do is pointless chickenshit or busywork.

    (OTOH, 1sg has to be one of the toughest jobs in the Army – the few times as a PSG that I had to temporarily step into the 1sg’s job I was always very quickly overwhelmed.)

    When I was at Camp Arifjan in 2004, we had a CSM who would station herself outside the chow hall to spot uniform violations. That was pretty much her entire job. Her big thing was making sure that soldiers who wore Boonie Hats had the little drawstring thing under their chins instead of up inside the crown like most of us wore it.

    I’ve also encountered barely-literate CSMs like the one for ARCENT Forward in Kuwait who put out an email reminding all senior NCO’s that we had to attend “Ethnics Training.” Of course, the briefing he was referring to was the mandatory ethics training , but that’s how he spelled it in every single email, and also that’s how he pronounced it. I think he genuinely though the word was “ethnics.”

    Our own CSM seemed to have no job other than trying to spot uniform violations. At the time of our deployment, the movie “Office Space” was one of our favorites and so we would joke that the CSM was coming by our section to make sure everyone was wearing at least 15 pieces of flair.

  12. RunPatRun says:

    Best quote from the article:

    “We are critical to the force,” Malloy said. “You can’t live without us.”

    bwahaha, really?

  13. martinjmpr says:

    Expanding a bit, I think the entire NCOES system is ripe for an overhaul. I was not in the combat arms (most of my time I was an MI analyst) but I can honestly say that the only NCOES school where I actually learned anything that was of practical use in my career was PLDC. And the primary reason I learned stuff at PLDC was because I was at Ft Lewis, home of the 2nd Ranger Bn, and the NCO Academy had a (very smart) policy of putting one tabbed Ranger into every small group. Pretty much every important thing I learned in that school I learned not from my cadre “small group leader” but from that squared-away Ranger.

    BNCOC and ANCOC were pretty much “ticket punches.” You go in, do the mandatory training (that is based on book doctrine, not real world applications) get your ticket punched and then leave. It’s basically a paid vacation.

  14. mike says:

    A good CSM is a force of nature that will keep a CO in line and remind him that his glorious plans require troops that haven’t been marched into the ground or spent all their time in the classroom instead of the field. The question is, how do you find good ones?

  15. BamBam says:

    @11: you hit the nail on the head! In my office we all (officer) joke about and fear the day when we are BN or BDE commanders and we get that barely literate CSM… How the hell do you deal with that!!? I recently had a very educated BDE CDR and a what can only be described as mentally challenged CSM and our question was: what goes through your mind as that CDR, when on one hand you have to support your “battle buddy” but on the other hand… He’s a mental child!

    “That’s right battle buddy, we need to get this ethnical training squared away!”

    My favorite CSM quote: “it would be Hooah of you…” (As opposed to “it would behoove you”)

  16. GPC says:

    From my service in two branches Navy/Army I can count on one hand E9s that were worth a shit.
    Four were MCPOs 1 was a CSM.Most E9s forget where they came from.

  17. martinjmpr says:

    @15: I came in during the Carter “hollow army” years (1980) when the army’s recruiting motto was “we’ll take anybody.” CSM promotions in the 80’s and early 90’s were from that cohort of troops and seemed to be made based on who had stuck it out longest, not who was more suited for the job.

    In theory the selectivity and higher standards of the 80’s and 90’s would mean that you would have a better pool of potential SGMs/CSMs, but in reality, those who would probably make the best CSMs have either retired by that time or else found their way into the commissioned or warrant ranks. What’s left are the dregs and that, too often, is who pins on the E-9 rank.

  18. Grow Up says:

    I am so pleased to be able to read the quotes of disgruntled “want a be’s” who are either unsuccessful in thier own Army careers, or those who flaunt “having served 26 years” and learned nothing about loyalty to our Army and our Nation.

    In fact, the mere reason that you have the right to publish such disloyal BS was made possible by the blood of hundreds of thousands of “Real” Soldiers who fought to defend this Nation and our Constitution…thus your right to “freedom of speech”!

    Having served for over 32 years now, I would like to exercise my own “freedom of speech” by saying you disloyal pieces of work don’t deserve to be called Americans, let alone being called Soldiers — you should be removed from the Rolls of American’s finest who you so sadly disgrace with you childish/anti-American rhetoric. Grow up and start contributing to Society!

    “Ultima Strong!”

    Proudly Serving – Fort Bliss, TX

  19. martinjmpr says:

    Having said the above, I will make an exception for SF. Most SF SGMs and CSMs are pretty squared away because unlike their counterparts in the conventional units, they are typically not that far removed from being on a team themselves and have had to stay pretty proficient in most military skills.

    Of course, in SF you have SGMs at the Company level, which means that an SF Company SGM is, in all but name, a 1SG.

  20. Virtual Insanity says:

    So, now, in the Army Aviation structure we also have a CWOB (Chief Warrant Officer of the Branch) and a W5 assigned as the senior advisor to the commander (at least at Brigade, not sure about Battalion now) on Warrant Officer issues.

    I guess the good news there is at least you can use him as a crewmember if you need to.

  21. Virtual Insanity says:

    #18 Now you’ve done it.

  22. martinjmpr says:

    Post no 18 is the most brilliant satire I have ever read.

    Well played, sir. Well played.

  23. Green Thumb says:

    There are to points of view.

    When I was a private-young NCO, every board I ever went to you needed to say “I want to be the CSM of the Army”. Sorta required to walk in the door or advance. You did not have to believe it; just had to say it. See, the dishonesty and lying starts early. AND its encouraged.

    When I became an officer, one would just roll their eyes at the assclownery of it all. But then again, if one stays enlisted for twenty plus, does on not want to make E-9? Or if they get there, are they going to change the “world or culture”? Or become a victim to it like all the rest and “chill”?

    Now do not get me wrong, the same can be said of officers. Fuckers hanging out in support ops or in the shops. Turds.

    To paraphrase, what is the difference between real and perceived expectations?

    Two observations: 1) The illiteracy aspect is spot on. Sad, but true. Nothing is every done about it due to the sorry shape, nature and requirements of NCOES schools. Some of the biggest morons I have ever met were in those schools. And @13. I was that “tabbed” guy in those schools. Only one too, most of the time.

    2) Without SGMs, we would be missing out on some of the funniest, dumbest insults and adjetival descripitions I have ever heard. One thing that I miss.

  24. Green Thumb says:


    “Two” points of view.

  25. FUBAR says:

    Bravo #18, do I know you??? I never thought there were so many braineacks who knew so much about so little. Luckily, the structure of the Army is decided by people with a little more insight, intellectual capacity and forethought. What appears to be a few individual malcontents whose experiences with a few dud sergeants major should encapsulate the feeling that the position is meaningless and a waste of valuable resources. Hell, lets eliminate the entire rank structure. Yea, eliminate every enlisted position, why just stop at Sergeants Major….. Why even have an Army, since all you Einsteins feel that even one rank is senseless. You were probably dud platoon sergeants and squad leaders who were 60 percent soldiers. Did you hit 40 for 40 every time, score 300 on all your APFT, or excel at everything you did or were you just mediocre and did you lead your Soldiers to be 60 percenters. You sicken me with your intellectual ineptitute. You know the phase: stupid is as stupid does. You’re the reason why they have to remind you to wear reflective belts, because you can’t see the forest for trees. I applaud your candid to criticize something you clearly don’t understand. Thanks for being small and narrow minded. It gives me hope that other Category 4 mental giants like you can open you fat mouths and babble on about other subjects you know nothing about. You all scare me.

  26. AW1 Tim says:


    If you actually gave a shit about what you’re saying, you’d sign your name to it. It’s called “Leadership by Example”, but apparently you’ve forgotten that bit.

    So my guess is that the comments you are critical of strike awfully close to home and make you more than a little uncomfortable, right? Good. Self-examination is always a good thing, but it’s also sadly lacking in the majority of the senior NCOs of all branches.

    So since you’ve “served” over 32 years now, why don’t you move your butt off into retirement and let someone who actually has a rational thought step up.

  27. O-4E says:

    From an article published in 2001 when they were investigating making an E-10 pay grade:

    “Further Down The Road To The Enlisted Generals


    At a time when our military is suffering from low morale, lack of funds and a rank structure that is increasingly top heavy and short on trigger pullers, some politicians and military leaders want to create a super NCO rank, the E10. Proponents of the move maintain that enlisted soldiers, serving directly with senior flag officers deserve additional recognition, one commentary insisting that noncommissioned officers deserve the rank for serving in command level jobs with far greater responsibilities and longer hours than others. That’s right about longer hours, but wrong on command responsibilities. NCOs don’t command organizations.

    As a former enlisted man, I am a fervent supporter of the leadership contribution that our NCOs have made in our military. I’m also convinced that many have the exceptional talents that, as in other countries, they should be given greater responsibilities, such as piloting certain fixed wing and rotary aircraft, and assume the majority of officer-tagged platoon leader positions in our line units.

    What disturbs me about the E10 creation is that it further advances a late 80s trend to pattern senior NCOs after the officer corps, including all the careerist requirements for ticket punching and superficial glorification of the mediocre.

    Today even the NCO efficiency report, once a simplistic report, concentrating on essential and mainly hands-on skills, resembles an officer report card. This includes overemphasis on the file picture, since prettier must be better. There is also overemphasis on a rapid succession of career enhancing assignments. Today’s NCO better have been a platoon sergeant,
    drill sergeant, recruiter, master gunner, first sergeant, operations sergeant and have attended a multitude specialty schools, right on time.

    With the exceptions of the NCOs in Light, Ranger and Special Forces outfits, we’ve now copied the officer experience by producing too many “Jacks of all trades” who lack true expertise in the critical combat and support skills.

    Today, the super “admin NCO Corps” rules supreme. They can talk like officers, walk like officers, e-mail like officers but have also lost contact with the troops, just like their officers. Recent chaos over uniform modifications and personnel policies indicate that senior NCOs can’t balance out of control generals but simply go along to build their own empires.

    Other proof of empire building is evident in the field:

    * “Change of responsibility” ceremonies for Command Sergeants Major are now in vogue, eating additional troop time.

    * Sergeants Major spending increasing time in meetings with First Sergeants and other Sergeants Major, rather than with the troops.

    * Sergeants Majors touring posts in helicopters, dedicated staff cars, flying special CSM identification stickers to ensure that the troops react as if they were commanders.

    * An over-abundance of parking spaces in front of PX and Commissary, dedicated to Command Sergeants Major.

    * Units suffering from dual chain of command syndrome, when officers and NCOs contradict in planning and execution of orders.

    My answer to the E-10 hype is to raise the salaries, prestige and proficiency of those “Warrior NCOs” who produce bang for the buck, versus creating more “chiefs with better briefs.”

    Reduce the numbers of officers running platoons to only one per company, in addition to an executive officer and company commander, but allow officers to remain in position at least two years. Senior NCO would lead the remaining platoons for at least five years and rate a hefty leader bonus for the job, a great improvement for force stability and a miracle cure for unit
    combat proficiency.

    Give the First Sergeants stability in position with a leader bonus for their proficiencies. First Sergeants can run companies without much interference from a Command Sergeant Major at battalion level.

    With stabilized NCO proficiency in the line companies, eliminate the Command Sergeant Major in the battalions and replace him with one highly operationally and tactically proficient Operations Sergeant Major, one who functions as the key advisor to the battalion’s staff and the commander.

    We must get the NCO Corps back to running the day-to-day operations of our force hands-on, with lots of authority and based on experience. Creating more staff NCOs and paper killers won’t help the readiness.

    I am delighted that most Service NCO leaders are still reluctant to endorse the E-10 concept, indicating the survival of some common sense.

    Unfortunately, the E-10 brain-bomb could ultimately survive because it originated with the same members of Congress who throw money at every problem, and who proposed to sprinkle five-star ranks on our Desert Storm generals, comparing victory over a Third World country with WWII.”

  28. O-4E says:

    I didn’t write the article btw…just remembered it

  29. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @18 and @25 — well written both of you, your ability to express important salient viewpoints clearly define your capabilities.

    It’s heartening to see such fine examples of the necessity of the CSM position. Keep up the great work, no doubt we will be anxiously awaiting your next powerfully outlined and articulate responses.

    Thank you so much, and have a Happy New Year….or just f$ck off whatever works better for you.

  30. Tequila says:

    SGM and CSM are more about politics then anything else. I made it to E-7 in 10 1/2 years and hit the glass ceiling. Name any variety of reasons, no Ranger tab, wrong ethnic class. And don’t tell me race didn’t matter. My CSM sat on the E-8 board when I got selected but because the racial quotas weren’t met they were told to stay in session until they were. As a result my name came off the list. He was one of those CSM’s you could respect. He called me into his office and told me in person. He was black and I am white. Of course once you’ve been passed over you can pretty much forget it. I retired after 22 years, meaning I spent more time as an E-7 then it took me to get it. No I had no Art 15’s, court martials or any other adverse actions. Concentrated on my college degree to prep for civilian life. I did spend plenty of time also in E-8 positions. After serving 22 years in the Infantry I only had 1 white 1st SGT, he was actually a German and 1 white CSM. That was life in the Infantry back then 80’s -90’s.

  31. FUBAR says:

    Its a shame that they believe that the Sergeants Major Academy is a factory for idiots, when it fact, their job is to educate sergeants major to assume positions as operations sergeants major and not CSMs. That’s a whole different program, but the Einsteins all know that. Apparently the one who criticized the staff ride to Columbus, New Mexico and Pancho Villa’ raid, failed to connect that General John “BlackJack” Pershing went after Pancho over the following year and for the first time used trucks and airplanes and learned a whole lot of lessons that he took to Europe, where he lead US forces to win WWI. Funny what you can learn about logistics because Pancho did not like the decision our president make to not back him vice Portifio Diaz. But I’m just a dumb retired SGM and CSM.

  32. Green Thumb says:


    A little bit of knowledge sure goes a long way.

    Case and point.

  33. FUBAR says:

    Veritas Omnia Vincit, your tag line is very apropos. Truth does conquer all.

  34. Jonn Lilyea says:

    When I got released from nine days in Panamanian prison on trumped up kidnapping charges, after getting the crap beat out of me every morning for breakfast and living in a rat infested hole, with a milk carton for a toilet and a newspaper for a bunk, the PMO got me released finally and took me to my Bn HQs. The CSM met me at the door and asked “Didn’t they let you shave in there?” Concern for troops.

    Disloyal? Disgruntled? How about disillusioned? How dare you when the SMA goes to Afghanistan for a day and tells the assembled troops without going on patrol himself, that they’re the reason for “insider attacks”? If they weren’t such insensitive louts, the Afghans wouldn’t be sneaking up and killing them.

    Why does a Marine general take a stance against the latest pamphlet that blames the troops, but the SMA is silent, except for spitting out the party line instead of sticking up for the troops. Fuck you and your 32 years if you want to be a part of that bullshit.

  35. Trent says:

    @18-my loyalty is to the Constitution of the United States. No where in the oath of enlistment or oath of office does it say I have any loyalty to the Army or to any officer or enlisted rank.

  36. martinjmpr says:

    @29: LOL. Yeah, they are a thin-skinned bunch, aren’t they? I guess in addition to the surgical operations described in @9 we should add “removal/thinning of epidermis.”

    It’s worth noting that the E-9 rank didn’t even exist until the 1960’s, IIRC (the “supergrades”, E-8 and E-9.) Before that, SGM was a duty position, just like 1SG or PSG. Seems like we did just fine when the E-grades topped out at 7. Honestly, I’d favor returning to such a system as long as those who were actually in 1SG slots received an incentive bonus for all the additional thankless work required.

  37. CSE CSC says:

    Speaking from a Navy POV, I think my experience with Command Master Chiefs is probably about 50/50. Some are just political hacks and kiss asses, but others are fantastic leaders that do a difficult job. The Master Chief of my Seabee battalion when we deployed to Afghanistan did a great job as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the skipper (basically keeping him out of trouble and out of our hair) and he was a good mentor and role model to the troops.

    Other Master Chiefs that were not Command Master Chiefs were usually the hardest working guys in the CPO Mess. Every now and then, there’s a political shitbag that only cares about his own career, but in my experience the majority of MCPOs are not shitbags. I’m not sure if I’ve just been fortunate or if it’s a Navy/Army thing or what.

    Just my two cents.

  38. martinjmpr says:

    @27: Re: “Enlisted Generals.” Here’s a pointless bit of military trivia: The rank of Major General was originally an enlisted rank. The original title was “Sergeant Major General.” True story.

  39. Jumpmaster says:

    A prime example is SMA Chandler. He seems to spend most of his time revising the uniforms policy and worrying about the enlisted soldier’s haircuts.

  40. Tequila says:

    Well damn FUBAR now you gone and done it. Just had to go out there and question everybody’s credentials as NCO’s painting us as losers. Here goes chump. In addition to making E-7 in just 10 years, back in those days it took 6 years just to make E-6, I won so many Soldier/NCO of the Month, Quarter etc that me and the wife just piled the awards into a box in the closet. My highest one was Runner Up NCO of the Year for Ft Benning. I always scored the max on the PT test, never had a height/weight issue, consistently had the highest number of soldiers earning their EIB’s and excelled on all external evaluations. The day after I pinned on my E-6 stripes the Bn Cdr called me to his office and offered me the Scout Platoon. So ya, I was always what you call a high achiever. Beyond the Army I also qualified for a tryout for the US National soccer team and missed by 3 minutes of qualifying for a slot at the Olympic tryouts in the 10km event. I got a degree in Computer Science while minoring in Business Mgmt and Crimminal Justice. Yes I shot expert with the M16 and spent time as a sniper instructor also. I also fired expert with all the German weapons as well as being certified on the TOW and Dragon missile systems and earning my secondary MOS of 11C the old fashioned way. I spent time with a mortar platoon and actually did the job. So yeah I guess by speaking ill of CSM/SGM I am just some sort of unAmerican puke who just skated by.

  41. Tequila says:

    Oh yeah forgot I was honor grad out of BNCOC and ANCOC.

  42. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    For me the problem with getting to the “top” of whatever heap you are crawling up requires help no matter who you are. For a great many would be leaders they forget that the help they received from subordinates and superiors brought them to the top, consequently they believe they have earned a different set of “rights” than those now below them. They didn’t earn different rights, they earn some perks. Proving your superiority by becoming a first class douchenozzle does little to extend your knowledge base into the troopers you serve.

    The problem with many of those who earn top enlisted, or top officer spots is they forget the word service. To be blessed with the honor of serving alongside American soldiers is to be respected, leading, caring for, and inspiring those troopers is something that is the responsibility of those at the top. They are charged with ensuring operational success certainly, but they owe a debt to their subordinates that too many top spot heroes overlook. That’s how respected colonels become generals who are forced to resign for adultery, misuse of funds, and a host of other recent high profile f$ckups in the officer corps. On the enlisted side those respected 1SGs become j#rkoff CSMs who sh1t on everybody under their command, it seems too many lose sight of why they are there. Because they are surrounded by others kissing their 4sses and bowing and scraping they actually think they are doing the right thing, and that’s how articles like this get written. Because some 4sshole forgot why he joined in the first place when he lost his soul after reaching the “top”.

  43. martinjmpr says:

    @37: Oddly enough, I think one of the reasons so many of us in the Army can tell “CSM stories” is because in other branches of service (namely the Air Force but I guess perhaps in the Navy, too), a senior enlisted man is often a highly experienced technical “expert” performing a highly technical job. But in the Army, many of those jobs have now gone to Warrant officers and it is an article of faith that NCO’s always have to be in “leadership” positions.

    In the British military (and other services that model their rank structures after the Brits), “Warrant officer” is not even an “officer” in the commonly understood sense (IOW, not part of the Officer’s mess, doesn’t rate a salute) but is actually a senior noncom.

    If we took a lot of the jobs that are now done by Warrants (communications specialists, military intelligence specialists, maintenance specialists, helicopter pilots, and so on) and made them senior noncoms, it would boost both the prestige and the talent pool of the senior NCO ranks.

    With the exception of the pilots, the Air Force has done this already – jobs that would be done by Warrant Officers in the Army are typically done by E-7/E-8s in the USAF.

    I can’t help but think this is one of the reasons you don’t hear as many “dud CMSGT” stories from the USAF as you hear “Dud CSM” stories from the Army.

  44. Green Thumb says:



    The last SGM I had when I was enlisted threw all of my gear off the balcony during a C/I. It was clean, too.

    Keep in mind I was the only “tabbed” E-4 in the Company and one of two in the Battalion. No Tabs in the PLT either, minus the PL.

    Guess what, SGM had no Tab. Odd how that works. Thing is, I never got an explanation as to why he did it. My PLT passed inspection.

    I will say this though, my 1SG and my PSG helped me pick it (gear) up. That spoke volumes.

  45. O-4E says:


    Two GREAT examples of leadership failures – the black beret and the ACU

    Generals made those ultimate, horrible decisions…BUT…there were a LOT of SGMs who didn’t say “WTF Sir?”

    In fact a lot of them published articles on what great decisions they were

  46. FUBAR says:

    Trent, if you are still on active duty, you may want to read the Manual for Courts Martial before you make any more disloyal statements, because you would be subject to charges.

  47. Tequila says:

    FUBAR loyalty like respect is earned not demanded. Or don’t they teach that anymore in the NCO academies?

  48. Trent says:

    FUBAR, you made my day! Thank you.

  49. Jonn Lilyea says:

    FUBAR, instead of making idiot pronouncements like that, maybe you should quote from the manual. You might want to point out where Trent made a disloyal statement, too. Unless of course, you’re a hypocrite.

    I don’t much like DA civilians who work at the SMA threatening my folks.

  50. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @45 indeed, too much 4ss kissing and not enough respectful dissent. The best officer I ever served under made it clear that he didn’t need his 4ss kissed, he wanted subordinates who were clear in understanding they did as ordered ultimately, but when asked for an opinion an honest one was expected not a politically correct one.

    He never was offended by a contrary opinion that I could see, and no one was ever made to feel they were out of line for offering one….he was a complete opposite to our previous commander who only wanted 4ss kissing yes men responding to his requests for an opinion….