Kidd to Receive Bainbridge Medal
By: Command Sergeant Major
Jimmie W. Spencer, USA, Ret.
Director, Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier Programs
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Richard A. Kidd, USA, Ret., is the 2005 recipient of the Sergeant Major of the Army William G. Bainbridge Medal.
The medal will be presented Oct. 3 at the Opening Ceremony of the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition that will be held at the Washington Convention Center.
The Bainbridge Medal is awarded each year to a noncommissioned officer – active, Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve or retired – for distinguished service to the Army and the Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
And, Richard A. Kidd’s lifetime of selfless service to our nation and America’s Army makes him a most deserving recipient of this AUSA recognition and honor.
SMA Kidd’s love affair with the United States Army began March 30, 1962, at Fort Holabird, Maryland.
After initial entry training and basic Airborne School, his first assignment was with the 504th Infantry in Mainz, Germany, which was the airborne element of the 8th Infantry Division.
His next assignment was with the 173rd Airborne in Vietnam as an infantry squad leader and platoon sergeant.
He returned from his first combat tour and volunteered for Army Special Forces where he excelled in all areas of training and was selected as the distinguished honor graduate.
In 1970, he received orders for his second tour in Vietnam, this time with the Military Assistance Command Vietnam. He was with five-man advisory team to the South Vietnamese Army.
Before being selected as the sergeant major of the army, he held every key noncommissioned officer leadership position in the Army.
As a command sergeant major, he served consecutive tours at Fort Lewis, Wash., with the 9th Aviation Battalion and the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 9th Infantry Division.
He then moved to Germany as the commandant of the 1st Armored Division NCO Academy.
Kidd quote: “NCOs are so important [because] they are the recruiters, the first trainers, the first-line leaders – the NCOs are the ones responsible for the equipment and the training of the soldiers on that equipment.”
Returning to Fort Lewis, SMA Kidd consecutively served as a battalion, brigade and division command sergeant major with the 9th Infantry Division.
He was serving as the I Corps (America’s Corps) and Fort Lewis command sergeant major when he was selected as the 9th Sergeant Major of the Army and served in this position from July 1991 to June 1995.
As sergeant major of the Army, he traveled hundreds of thousands of miles each year to listen to soldiers’ and families’ concerns, answer questions, be with the troops and report his findings to the Army chief of staff.
Kidd quote: “You might change the equipment; you might change the uniform; you might change a lot of things – but the leadership challenges are primarily to lead, train and care for the troops.”
Kidd’s service to the Army and to soldiers did not end with his retirement from active duty.
He continued serving by joining with a company that specializes in working with soldiers, retirees and veterans.
As the vice president for the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) and field representative for sales, Management/Military Department, he continues to support soldiers and families through numerous programs he personally instituted.
He regularly teaches financial responsibility to young soldiers and ensures that GEICO maintains a military service award program which annually honors one member of each branch of service plus a guard and reserve representative.
He was also a driving force in GEICO’s support of the World War II Memorial in Washington.
For over 40 years, Richard A. Kidd has exemplified selfless service to this nation.
From volunteering to serve in Vietnam to leading soldiers at every level to his selection as the sergeant major of the Army, to everything he does every day for soldiers and their families and our nation’s veterans and retirees.
He is the epitome of an American soldier. AUSA congratulations Richard A. Kidd; you are most deserving of this honor.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our soldiers and their families.
And, most of all, thank you for being a friend.