Former SMA Glen Morrell Dies

Former SMA Glen Morrell Dies

Glen Morrell
Photo by: U.S. Army

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Glen Morrell, a life member of the Association of the U.S. Army who served as the seventh sergeant major of the Army from 1983–1987, died Oct. 26. He was 87.

Born May 26, 1936, in Wick, West Virginia, Morrell enlisted in the Army in 1953. He decided to leave the Army after his first enlistment but reenlisted in 1958. “I found out that I really liked the Army after I got out,” Morrell said in a 1994 interview with the Army’s Center of Military History.

Then-Sgt. Morrell was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in Berlin, Germany. At the time, a sergeant made $205 a month. “We lived on a hell of a tight budget. At the end of the month, I’d have to come up with 10 pennies in order to buy [bread] and a cup of coffee,” Morrell said in the interview.

In 1962, Morrell underwent Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, now Fort Liberty, North Carolina. Over the next decade, he deployed three times to Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group and twice to Panama with the 8th Special Forces Group.

Morrell was selected in 1976 as command sergeant major of the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Infantry, at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where—at 41 years old—he completed Ranger school and was the Distinguished Honor Graduate of his class.

Prior to being named sergeant major of the Army, Morrell was command sergeant major of Army Forces Command.

During his tenure as the Army’s senior enlisted leader, Morrell was known for his devotion to improving soldiers’ training and quality of life. He felt his most rewarding accomplishment “was being able to do something for the good of the enlisted personnel and the noncommissioned officer corps,” according to the Army.

In a tribute on social media, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Weimer, the current and 17th senior enlisted leader, said Morrell was instrumental in the development of the NCO education system.

“To me, an American soldier is a person that had been trained and has the desire to be the best that there is at whatever their job might be, and can do any damn thing under the sun, provided their needs are taken care of and they've got good leadership,” Morrell said. “They'll go the extra mile time and time again.”