|Story and photo by J.D. Leipold, Army News Service
The Army’s 14th sergeant major of Army (SMA) was sworn in during a March
1 standing-room-only ceremony in the Pentagon.
Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler III, a 30-year veteran, was
administered the oath of office by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen.
George W. Casey Jr. (left) swears in Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond
F. Chandler III as the 14th sergeant major of the Army during a
ceremony at the Pentagon. Chandler’s wife, Jeanne, holds the
Bible during the ceremony.
Following the arrival of the official party, Casey welcomed the
newest SMA, his wife, Jeanne, and their six children to the nation’s
capital. Casey then told the audience it was a “great day to be a
sergeant” — which brought on a rousing “hooah” from the crowd.
“As I looked at trying to figure out who the next sergeant major of the
Army ought to be, it was a very difficult task because frankly we have
an Army that is replete with talent in our noncommissioned officer corps
and nowhere is it more pronounced than among our sergeants major,” Casey
Casey outlined Chandler’s career, highlighting his last position, where
he was the first enlisted Soldier to serve as commandant of the
Sergeants Major Academy. Chandler had previously served as the academy’s
command sergeant major. The chief said what impressed him most about
Chandler’s career was the series of assignments that demonstrated such a
range of experience in a senior enlisted leader.
“As I looked at what he’d done, it struck me that I hadn’t seen this
much versatility in very many noncommissioned officers,” Casey said,
noting his experience in both armor and Javelin units throughout the
world. The general also noted his service as a command sergeant major
during combat in Iraq.
“He brings a great wealth of talent to this position ... from the
operational side, the installation side, the institutional side and the
reserve-component side,” Casey said. “He has a deep understanding of
what it means to be a Citizen-Soldier, and I think he’ll bring that to
bear here as we go forward trying to operationalize the Guard and
Chandler served a three-year tour as an active-duty adviser to the 155th
Armored Brigade, Mississippi National Guard, in Tupelo.
Then Casey offered advice to Chandler: “be a role model for every
Soldier ... be a mentor for every sergeant ... and be a hard-nosed
adviser to the secretary and me.”
Following administration of the oath, Chandler took the podium, thanking
first his Family, friends and senior leaders along with those who had
guided him through his career.
“I am humbled,” Chandler said of his selection as SMA. “Many of you ...
I have served with and I am a product of your leadership. I’m here
because you saw faith in me and counseled me and coached me and helped
me develop into being a professional as part of this profession of arms.
“Each of you has upped my life or another noncommissioned officer’s life
in some way which has taken us to this place where our Army is today —
we have the best Army that our nation has ever fielded, there’s no doubt
about it,” Chandler said. “But our Army is also tired, and we have many
more miles to travel, so all of us as a Family need to look out for one
another and to wrap our hands around those Soldiers and Families who
have borne the burden of these many years.
“As the Army’s sergeant major, I will serve as a scout and conduct
reconnaissance with the chief and provide him with information that he
can turn into intelligence with the secretary and make informed
decisions for our Families and Soldiers so that we can best serve our
nation,” he continued.
“I will do my best. I ask each and every one of you to support every
single Soldier and Family that goes in harm’s way, those that are
recovering from their wounds and to look out for and put your arms
around those individuals. We can be a very empathetic organization and
we need some empathy for our folks.”