In my experience, the Non-commissioned officers (NCO) are the backbone of the Army. They are assigned with the responsibility of leading and training enlisted soldiers and junior officers. Command Sergeant Major Jim Champagne noted having a backbone is defined as having the strength of character and fortitude to lead. In the U.S. Army, the senior ranking NCO is the Sergeant Major (SGM). In the enlisted ranks, only the Command Sergeant Major and Sergeant Major of the Army outrank an SGM. The U.S. Army’s Sergeants Major Academy is located at Fort Bliss, Texas and is a 10-month long course. It was formed on July 1, 1972, and started instructional training on January 8, 1973. For 50 years, the academy has been training the future SGM’s through Distance Learning (DL) and Residency courses. Only 720 Master Sergeants and Sergeant Majors are chosen to attend residency training each year. The Sergeants Major Course (SMC) is the capstone of the Army’s Non-commissioned Officers Professional Development System (NCOPDS). The purpose of the academy is to prepare the master Sergeants and sergeants majors to think beyond the tactical level to an operational and strategic viewpoint. Ultimately, the SGM academy’s goal is to provide the Army with “agile and adaptive senior enlisted leaders.”
This week we salute Lloyd Nelson. Lloyd served in the Army National Guard from 1980 to 2017. His military occupational specialty was as a Combat Engineer. From November 2004 to April 2006, Lloyd was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). He was reclassed as a Military Policeman (MP), stationed at Fort Riley Kansas. His most memorable experience during military service was having the honor of being selected to attend the resident course of the Sergeant Majors Academy in 2007. During his training, he met many VIPs to include the Secretary of the Army. Lloyd is from North Dakota, but his employment with the railroad brought him to Forsyth, Montana. He is married to the lovely Kim Nelson, and they have four adult children.