Sergeant Major of the Army

#1
Interesting point just came up in another thread - raised by GOATMAN:

The US Armed Forces have a stratospherically senior OR at the right hand of each of the relevant service Chiefs of Staff, with a specific mandate to represent enlisted views and interests, both to the chain of command and to - in the US case - Congress and the Senate.

They also have Command Sergeants Major at formation level, who perform a similar function for the 4*, 3* and 2* officers in command of those formations.

Now, the senior WO in the British Army is the RSM at Sandhurst, right (yes, yes, I know about Conductors RLC, but no-one's going to ask them about anything but their thing, are they?) - and no-one, to the best of my knowledge, calls him from Whitehall for a soundbite on pay and conditions.

So - is this a model our Lords and Masters should be thinking about? Are there pros? Are there cons? Should the job be non-commissionable by definition?

Edited to give credit where credit's due.
 
#2
The US has a Sgt Major College, it seems to be a very good institution, I had the pleasure of socialising with one of the senior instructors there, they seem to really appreciate operational experience in their training staff as opposed to depot wallahs. I think it is a model that should be copied by ourselves.
 
#3
There is, at a much lower level, something similar in 3 (UK) Div where there is an appointment in the Div HQ of the Div Sgt Maj. This was an appointment eased through by Cedric Delves when he was the GOC. The reason was to establish a warant who could move through the Div, tresting the water, acting as a conduit for the troops' to register their concerns and keeping the GOC "aware". Needless to say, the DSM was also an advisor to the GOC. Its a useful precedent and I'm sure that there will be an ARRSEr currently in 3** who can amplify what I've said. So, do we see the ArmySgt Maj as being a Fd Army appointment, sitting with Comd Fd Army in LAND? Thoughts?
 
#4
As a lot of officers are promoted from the ranks and are former RSM´s themselves, so what´s the point?

He´ll be standing around like a Spare Pr*ck at a Wedding,opening doors and making the tea and wondering what the F*ck he´s there for anyway!

Stiff-Digit,72 posts in 4 days,you´ve got less real work to do than...............................HerrenBloke! :twisted: :lol:
 
#5
I recently left 3** and the DSM was still there. GOC did not use him much because he was a) pre-CSM and b) the GOC at the time had the touch with the boys - trhey told him what they thought.

The closest equivalent we have is probably Sergeant Major London District who briefs the PM and Royalty on their public duty roles. As suc he 'has their ear' as reqd.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#9
Glad_its_all_over said:
Interesting point just came up in another thread:

The US Armed Forces have a stratospherically senior OR at the right hand of each of the relevant service Chiefs of Staff, with a specific mandate to represent enlisted views and interests, both to the chain of command and to - in the US case - Congress and the Senate.

They also have Command Sergeants Major at formation level, who perform a similar function for the 4*, 3* and 2* officers in command of those formations.

Now, the senior WO in the British Army is the RSM at Sandhurst, right (yes, yes, I know about Conductors RLC, but no-one's going to ask them about anything but their thing, are they?) - and no-one, to the best of my knowledge, calls him from Whitehall for a soundbite on pay and conditions.

So - is this a model our Lords and Masters should be thinking about? Are there pros? Are there cons? Should the job be non-commissionable by definition?
Oi GIAO !....where's my attribution !

Goatman said: We on this side of the Pond are always bitching that the Cousins don't want to learn bitter lessons we've had to learn (COIN/hearts & minds etc) ....maybe this is a lesson they can teach us ?

Swap ?

Le Chevre

On the UK Naval side 2SL would probably point to the WO who sits on his Presentation Team and conducts the debrief to him personally at conclusion of each (Quarterly) tour of RN/RM establishments.

I know the boss of the APT( a half Colonel) does the same - to ACGS in person.

But that is NOT the same as the US system....if I understand how their system works ( and I stand by for USMC Sergeant Major to correct me on this - T6 ? Yank Lurker ? - if you know him, wheel him aboard ! ) the Master Chief sits in at ALL high level discussions.....the equivalent here would be the senior British NonCom sitting in at either Executive Council of the Army Board or the Defence Council, alongside his boss and free to speak..........not sure Transatlantic egalitarianism has reached those levels......

Le Chevre
 
#10
Had this idea ben mooted when it mattered to me, I'd be a bit sus.
It needs a lot of moral character to occupy such a position and be completely dispassionate. Also needs to be aware that there is always the possibility that his opinion will be sought for wrong reason "Well the (whatever they call him) thinks it is a good idea and he is there to know this sort of thing..." Basically. I worry about anyone speaking on my behalf when he has not consulted me and I am not there to hear what he thinks he heard me say. I did once suggest that the senior WOI of the sybills should be whereever it was that they reviewed all the annual CRs of the investigators. This to adjust for the "if he's one of my lads he must be good" syndrome from some reporting officers and the "Good - of course he's good but that's what we pay him for" of others.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#11
Mr_Fingerz said:
Thanks for the link Mr Fingerz....don't have the temerity to intrude in the Seniors forum too often....

The notorious milord Flashheart ( now presumably packing his best little black number for Herrick) made a fair point:
On another point, how many senior WO's who may be in a position to 'tell it like it is to the top brass' isnt chasing an LE commish?
Not sure Master Gunnery Sgt Major Estrada ever considered trading in his stripes for bars....I can almost guarantee somebody asked him to.

Some good points made about whether any badgeman is genuinely 'in touch' with the 23 year olds standing in front of him....

Oldest (sober) Corporal in the British Army maybe ?
 
#12
As a serving Marine Reservist about 13 years ago, the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force was aboard our USAF base, and gave a damn enough to come see us Marines at the Naval Air Facility which was a tenant activity. It was a very small gathering, just we troops (I was a Lance Cpl, there were a few PFC's along with some Jr and Sr NCO's) and it was a totally informal meeting. He brought no staff, and no notes. He talked, and we talked. It was a good meeting--and at the least we felt someone was standing up for our interests as enlisted Reservists (though he of course was a Regular). It also made us feel that someone was bloody-well listening to our concerns, and would tell the Powers That Be what we had to say. It certainly spoke a LOT of the caliber of man he was--did he have any obligation as CMSGT of the AF to talk to a bunch of Reservist jarheads? Not. But he walked into our unit, and asked if he could set up an ad hoc meeting of enlisted men to talk to about matters which concerned them. Just because he gave a damn. He certainly wasn't running for office....

[Edit] And no, I hate to disappoint, but I'm now merely a civilian "has-been" with a spreading gut due to a sedentary civilian occupation and too much comfy living. I certainly do not have any aquaintance with the Sgt Major of the US Marine Corps!

DummyRound said:
Command Sergeant Major of the Army......soldier or politician? What are the chances of the senior enlisted man in any Army hearing the real woes of a serving soldier? VIP visits are normally scripted to the finest detail.

http://www.army.mil/leaders/leaders/sma/articles.html

Here is a link to what the SMA does. You decide if the British Army needs one?
 
#13
Each Corps has an RSM and now the Infantry have one too (Senior RSM at ITC Catterrick). If we had a SGTMAJ ARMY what would he do? The AcSM has a conference each year at RMAS for all RSMS for example which is attended by CGS and AG etc...
 
#14
Off topic, sorry. I went to the page showing the biography of Master Gunnery Sgt Major Estrada of the USMC, and was highly impressed; not least with his six rows of medals, which he has earned despite having (and, Sir, please forgive me if I've misinterpreted the bio) little, if any operational experience. I then went on to look at the outstanding record of Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) William Joseph Gainey, U.S. Army, who's obviously a first-class chap.

His decorations include: "the Legion of Merit, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Bronze Star with "V" for valor; Meritorious Service Medal, 7 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal, 7 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Achievement Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; NCO Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Army Superior Unit Award; Master Parachutist Badge; Pathfinder's Badge; Combat Action Badge; the Drill Sergeant Badge; the Order of Saint George (Bronze Medallion), and the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara"

Jeez, as they say. I spent more'n a few years doing the dirty and have a little oak leaf (wilting) on a GSM (the LSGC was haughtily disallowed for the results of an evening's joyous violence at HM's in Bielefeld when I was a local-acting-LCpl).

Wish I'd joined the Boy Scouts. I cud 'ave Bin a Contender.
 
#15
two medals for the global war on terrorism?? the expeditionary one for those who actually left the USA for it, presumably? and the NCO professional development ribbon? is that like our CLM certificate? and a f*cking ARMY SUPERIOR UNIT AWARD?!?!??
 
#16
We have a 'top of the tree' WO in the RAF who is the Chief of the Air Staffs WO.

They do get about the bases and I've bumped into the various different gentlemen filling the position over the years.

From my experience one of his most important roles is acting as a kind of bullshit filter for the CAS, as the comments made to the CASWO come direct from the rank and file and not via the 'one eye on the greasy pole, one eye on the pension' commissioned oxygen thieves.
 
#17
two medals for the global war on terrorism?? the expeditionary one for those who actually left the USA for it, presumably? and the NCO professional development ribbon? is that like our CLM certificate? and a f*cking ARMY SUPERIOR UNIT AWARD?!?!??
Basically.

Two legions of Merit and the Bronze Star w/ V are the important ones of that lot. MSM is a peacetime award for meritorious service, but it's about the same level as a Bronze Star w/out V, I don't know anyone with that many awards of it. The CAB is notable, the Drill Sergeant's badge is notable, and I'm surprised the two 'orders of' are listed, I had always thought they were semi-official awards.

The unit award is likely listed on his individual jacket as unit awards are retained by the soldier for the rest of his career if he was in the unit at the time the award was earned. The rest of us peons have to change the unit awards on our uniforms when we move around.

2. Criteria: a. The Army Superior Unit Award is awarded for outstanding meritorious performance of a unit during peacetime in a difficult and challenging mission under extraordinary circumstances. The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks to set it apart from and above other units with similar missions. For the purpose of this award, peacetime is defined as any period during which wartime or combat awards are not authorized in the geographical area in which the mission was executed. The award may be given for operations of a humanitarian nature. Circumstances may be deemed to be extraordinary when they do not represent the normal day-to-day circumstances under which the unit normally performs its peacetime mission or may be reasonably expected to perform.

NTM
 
#18
I think a big difference is there aren't really late-entry commissions in the US forces, so guys who get to E-9 (equiv WO1) get repeated postings at the top enlisted rank.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#19
Again we are talking about the view from the coal face being represented to the management and a not unreasonable suspision that those views will be tainted by the conduit (for entirly understandable reasons) - time for a Federation - whatever you want to call it.
 
#20
Cabarfeidh said:
Each Corps has an RSM and now the Infantry have one too (Senior RSM at ITC Catterrick). If we had a SGTMAJ ARMY what would he do? The AcSM has a conference each year at RMAS for all RSMS for example which is attended by CGS and AG etc...
You/ve knocked it on the head there I think. And any of the senior head shed that hasn't picked up what they need to know from their SNCO/WOs as Coy Comds and COs wouldn't have go t that far anyway (or so I'd like to think).

Notwithstanding that, the idea has some merits. Most 2 stars and above have a Miltary Assistant - normally a Capt, who runs their diary for them. I like the idea of a senior WO having the ear of the senior officer at all times, and whisper sense when any particularly kn*b ideas are suggested. Most effectively, we need one at Cabinet level - now that would be funny.
 

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