For those unfamiliar, the Command Sergeant Major is a god in the Army. He reports directly to the Chief of Staff and is the go-to guy for the brass on enlisted matters. And there is only one Sergeant Major of the Army. One.
Discipline, welfare, retention rates, you name it. If it deals with EMs, it’s within the SMA’s bailiwick. SMA Chandler is especially impressive given that, (from the Army Times),
In 2009 he was handpicked by Dempsey to become the first enlisted soldier to serve as commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. Colonels had previously held the position.
Back in my day, at least in the Navy, enlisted men (there were no women) tended to be, at best, high school grads. Mostly they were GED, or had dropped out to enlist as soon as they were able. It was the rare seaman who had completed any college, let alone had graduated. Those as had degrees tended to be officers, and among officers it was becoming quite rare to find mustangs, that is former enlisted men who had only a high school education.
Fast forward to 2011, and this interesting bit from Army Times:
Chandler pointed to his own career as proof [of improved education among the ranks]. When he entered the Army in 1981, the average NCO had an eighth-grade educational level. Today, 50 percent of those who graduate from his academy have a master’s or bachelor’s degree. And 90 percent have at least a two-year college degree.
Color me impressed. This is something to think on whenever some academic lout starts spouting rubbish about how stupid you must be to enlist in our nation’s armed forces.
Congratulations, SMA Raymond Chandler. Would that we had more such as you.