6th SMA - William A. Connelly

6th SMA - William A. Connelly

Born: June 2, 1931, Monticello, Georgia


  • 1950-54 Tank Crewman, Company C, 190th Tank Battalion, Americus, Georgia
  • 1954-55 Tank Crewman, Commander, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Company B, 761st Tank Battalion, 3d Armored Division, Ft. Knox, Kentucky
  • 1955-56 Tank Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Company B, 826th Tank Battalion, 19th Armored Group, Hammelburg; Schweinfurt, Germany
  • 1956-58 Operations Sergeant, Platoon Sergeant, Company B, 826th Tank Battalion, Ft. Benning, Georgia
  • 1958-59 Platoon Sergeant, Companies B and C, 2d Battalion, 67th Armor, 4th Armored Division, Fuerth, Germany
  • 1961-62 Platoon Sergeant, Company B, 3d Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor, 24th Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; Augsburg, Germany
  • 1962-64 First Sergeant, Operations Sergeant, 32d Tank Battalion, Munich, Germany
  • 1964-67 First Sergeant, Company C, 4th Battalion, 68th Armor, 2d Infantry Division, Ft. Stewart, Georgia; Dominican Republic; Ft. Knox, Kentucky
  • 1967-68 Chief Enlisted Adviser, 196th Cavalry Squadron, Georgia National Guard, Griffin, Georgia
  • 1969-70 First Sergeant, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, Republic of Vietnam
  • 1970-73 First Sergeant, Reception Company, 1st Training Brigade; Sergeant Major, 1st and 2d Battalion, Ft. Knox, Kentucky
  • 1972 Student, Class #2, Sergeants Major Academy, Ft. Bliss, Texas
  • 1972-75 Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor, 1st Armored Division, Erlangen, Germany
  • 1975-76 Sergeant Major, Seventh Army Training Command, Grafenwoehr, Germany
  • 1976-77 Sergeant Major, 1st Armored Division, Ansbach, Germany
  • 1977-79 Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Forces Command, Ft. McPherson, Georgia
  • 1979-83 Sergeant Major of the Army

Significant Accomplishments as SMA

During SMA Connelly's tenure as SMA, the Army improved in quality of soldiers, regarding both education and discipline. SMA Connelly sponsored or encouraged a number of initiatives that improved the quality of life for soldiers and families, which paid off in attracting high-quality men and women to the Army and encouraging them to reenlist. Most importantly, he capitalized on his vast experience in individual and unit training to involve unit NCOs from corporal to sergeant major in their soldiers' training. He drafted the regulation establishing the Noncommissioned Officer Development Program, which created a roadmap of NCO professional development, outlining education requirements and tightening standards of performance.

Selected Decorations and Awards

  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Bronze Star Medal with V Device and 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Air Medal with V Device
  • Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Combat Infantryman Badge