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Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

 

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

Headquarters Marine Corps

History of the Rank

The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is selected by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to serve as his advisor and as the preeminent and highest ranking enlisted Marine with a protocol equivalency of a three-star general officer.

The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps typically serves a four-year term, though his service is at the discretion of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

'Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps' is the full wording of the rank, but the verbal address is Sergeant Major.

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Although not officially considered a Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Archibald Sommers was appointed to the grade of Sergeant Major on January 1, 1801. It was a solitary post, similar to the modern billet of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.

In 1833, an act of legislation made the rank of sergeant major permanent for the Marine Corps. By 1899, five Marines held the rank of sergeant major. The rank was abolished in 1946 and re-introduced in 1954 as part of the Marine Corps rank structure.

The post of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps was established in 1957 as the senior enlisted advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. It was the first such post in any of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces. The first official Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps was Sergeant Major Wilbur Bestwick.

In 1970, the distinctive rank insignia of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps was authorized. It features the Eagle, Globe and Anchor flanked by two five-point stars, as opposed to the standard Sergeant Major rank insignia, which has a single five-point star in the center.

 

Find previous Sergeants Major photos at Defense Visual Information.

Previous SMMC

Ronald L. Green
18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Micheal P. Barrett
17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Carlton W. Kent
16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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John L. Estrada
15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Alford L. McMichael
14th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Lewis G. Lee
13th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Harold G. Overstreet
12th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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David W. Sommers
11th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Robert E. Cleary
10th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Leland D. Crawford
9th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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John R. Massaro
8th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Henry H. Black
7th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Clinton A. Puckett
6th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Joseph W. Dailey
5th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Herbert J. Sweet
4th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Thomas J. McHugh
3rd Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Francis D. Rauber
2nd Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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Wilbur Bestwick
1st Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
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