Monday, May 02, 2016

Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., has been named the first honorary Sergeant Major of the Army.

Sullivan, the Association of the U.S. Army’s president and CEO, received the honor during an April 12 ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas.

He also served as 32nd Army Chief of Staff, retiring in 1995 after 36 years of service.

Accepting the honor, Sullivan described NCOs as both the backbone of the Army and people he admire from his earliest days of service.

The NCOs and former NCOs who taught basic Army skills to him at Fort Knox, Kentucky, when he was attending the basic course for Army officers, reminded him of the older construction workers who helped him during summer jobs.

"I liked those guys," he said.

"The glue that connects all of it together is the noncommissioned officer," Sullivan said.

Emphasizing, "We have a world-class Noncommissioned Officer Corps, and we’re very fortunate to have it."

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said Sullivan deserves the honorary award for being "a great mentor, a great leader and a great soldier, through his entire life, who still to this day represents who we are and what we stand for."

Sullivan was at Fort Bliss to address the International Training and Leader Development Symposium at the U.S. Army Sergeant Majors Academy where the ceremony was held.

Five former sergeants major of the Army in were in attendance.

They were: Julius W. Gates, July 1987 – June 1991; Gene C. McKinney, July 1995 – Oct. 1997; Jack L. Tilley, June 2000 – Jan. 2004; Kenneth O. Preston, Jan. 2004 – March 2011; and Raymond F. Chandler, March 2011 – Jan. 2015.

Preston and Command Sgt. Maj. Don Thomas, USA, Ret., from the Association’s Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier Programs Directorate, accompanied Sullivan to the academy.