Sergeant Major
Overview
 


Sergeants major is a senior non-commissioned
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries, Sergeants Major are usually appointments held by senior non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

s or warrant officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s. In the United States, there are various degrees of sergeant major (Command Sergeant Major (CSM), Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)
Sergeant Major of the Army
The Sergeant Major of the Army is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army NCO is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, when in that case that NCO will be the most senior...

, Sergeant Major of Marine Corps), but they are all of the same pay grade
Pay grade
Pay grades are used by the uniformed services of the United States to determine wages and benefits based on the corresponding military rank of a member of the services...

.
In most Commonwealth forces, Sergeant Major is a rank, but rather an appointment held by a warrant officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

.
Encyclopedia


Sergeants major is a senior non-commissioned
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries, Sergeants Major are usually appointments held by senior non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

s or warrant officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s. In the United States, there are various degrees of sergeant major (Command Sergeant Major (CSM), Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)
Sergeant Major of the Army
The Sergeant Major of the Army is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army NCO is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, when in that case that NCO will be the most senior...

, Sergeant Major of Marine Corps), but they are all of the same pay grade
Pay grade
Pay grades are used by the uniformed services of the United States to determine wages and benefits based on the corresponding military rank of a member of the services...

.

Commonwealth Forces

In most Commonwealth forces, Sergeant Major is a rank, but rather an appointment held by a warrant officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

. A Sergeant Major will normally be the senior non-commissioned
Non-commissioned member
A non-commissioned member , in the Canadian Forces, is defined in the Queen's Regulations and Orders as:"… any person, other than an officer, who is enrolled in, or who pursuant to law is attached or seconded otherwise than as an officer to, the Canadian Forces…" Thus, an NCM is any member who is...

 member of an Army or Marine unit. There are normally two grades of Sergeant Major, with the first grade being the senior soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

 of a company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

, battery or squadron
Squadron
Squadron has different meanings:*Squadron , a cavalry or other unit that consists of a number of troops.*Squadron , a unit of aircraft that consists of three or four "flights", with a total of 12 to 24 aircraft, depending on aircraft type and air force.*Squadron , a unit of 3-4 major naval vessels...

 and the second, higher grade being the senior soldier of a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 or regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

. The title normally consists of the unit title (e.g. 'Company') followed by 'Sergeant Major', and abbreviated by the initials (e.g. CSM). A Sergeant Major of a regiment is known as a Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major is an appointment held by warrant officers class 1 in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers in the Canadian Forces...

, rather than a Regiment Sergeant Major.

The sergeant-major of a unit is normally directly responsible to the Commanding Officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

 (CO) for all matters pertaining to dress, deportment, discipline, conduct, performance, standards and morale of the non-commissioned members (NCMs) of that unit. Sergeants Major are normally addressed as sir or ma'am by subordinates, and by Mr or Ms (surname) by superiors, with the term 'RSM'/'CSM'/etc reserved for the Sergeant Major's Commanding Officer.

Canadian Forces

The Regimental Sergeant-Major (RSM) is the senior appointment in a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

-sized unit, including infantry battalions and artillery, armoured, engineer, and signal regiments; this appointment is normally held by a Chief Warrant Officer
Chief Warrant Officer
Chief warrant officer is a military rank used by the Canadian Forces and the Israel Defence Forces.-Canada:In the Canadian Forces, a chief warrant officer or CWO is the most senior non-commissioned member rank in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force...

 (CWO). The same position can also be held by a Master Warrant Officer
Master Warrant Officer
Master warrant officer is a senior military rank in the Canadian Forces, Singapore Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces.-Canadian Forces:...

 in anticipation of promotion, or a shortage of available CWOs, etc.

In company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

-sized units, the Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) generally holds the rank of Master Warrant Officer
Master Warrant Officer
Master warrant officer is a senior military rank in the Canadian Forces, Singapore Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces.-Canadian Forces:...

 (MWO), although in some cases it may be held by a Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

 (WO) if the company is smaller, or in a shortage of available MWOs. In artillery batteries, this appointment is known as Battery Sergeant-Major (BSM), while in units with a cavalry heritage (armoured, combat engineer, and signals squadrons), the term is Squadron Sergeant-Major (SSM).

In company-sized sub-units of battalions or regiments, the CSM (or equivalent) normally answers both to his or her Officer Commanding (OC) for matters pertaining to the Company in particular, and to the RSM on matters of concern to the RSM. Thus, in a Signal Regiment, the SSM of 1 Squadron (1 Sqn) would be report to the OC of 1 Sqn for all activities within that Sqn; he or she would also be responsible for drill, dress, etc. matters to the RSM, who is responsible for such matters regiment-wide.

CSMs and their equivalents are normally addressed as "Sergeant-Major" or by rank; by subordinates they are thereafter as "Sir", "Ma'am", or "Warrant" (WOs) as appropriate. "CSM" ("BSM", "SSM") is a title normally reserved for use by the CO.

RSMs are never addressed as "Sergeant-Major"; they are addressed by rank or as "Mr (Surname)" or "Ms (Surname)", and thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am". "RSM" is reserved for use by the CO.

In some unusual cases, a Chief Petty Officer 1st
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class
Chief petty officer, 1st class, CPO1, is the most senior non-commissioned member rank of the Royal Canadian Navy. It is equivalent to a chief warrant officer in the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force...

 or 2nd Class
Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class
Chief petty officer, 2nd class, CPO2, is a Naval non-commissioned member rank of the Canadian Forces. It is senior to the rank of petty officer 1st-class and its equivalents, and junior to chief petty officer 1st-class and its equivalents...

 may succeed to a Sergeant-Major position, especially in units which are not part of Land Force Command
Canadian Forces Land Force Command
The Canadian Army , previously called Land Force Command, is responsible for army operations within the Canadian Forces. The current size of the Army is 19,500 regular soldiers and 16,000 reserve soldiers, for a total of around 35,500 soldiers...

 or units with a large number of "purple trades
Purple trades
In the armed forces of Canada, the purple trades are occupations and careers – typically related to logistics or other support – that are not strongly linked to one of the Canadian Forces' three major 'environments' or 'elements': sea, land, or air....

", such as service battalions. The forms of address generally remain the same, except that Chief Petty Officers 1st and 2nd Class are never addressed as "Sir" or "Ma'am", but as "Chief".

The opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 Leo, the Royal Cadet
Leo, the Royal Cadet
Leo, the Royal Cadet is a light opera with music by Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann. The libretto was by George Frederick Cameron. It was composed in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1889. The work centres on Nellie's love for Leo, a cadet at the Royal Military College of Canada who becomes a hero serving...

 (1889) by Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann
Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann
Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann was a Canadian composer of operettas, conductor and educator, and violinist best known for his operetta Leo, the Royal Cadet....

 and George Frederick Cameron
George Frederick Cameron
George Frederick Cameron was a Canadian poet, lawyer, and journalist, best known for the libretto for the operetta Leo, the Royal Cadet.-Life:...

 includes a character "Battalion Sergeant Major at the Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
The Royal Military College of Canada, RMC, or RMCC , is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. RMC was established in 1876. RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers...

" and song The Royal Cadet - The Battalion Sergeant Major. The senior cadet of the Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
The Royal Military College of Canada, RMC, or RMCC , is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. RMC was established in 1876. RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers...

 was a Battalion Sergeant Major from 1878-1923 and from 1934-42. Since 1952, however, the senior cadet is known as a Cadet Wing-Commander (CWC).

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Sergeant Major is a rank in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

. While technically it is the 6th level of rank, below Corps Sergeant Major and above Staff Sergeant Major
Staff Sergeant Major
-Canada:Staff Sergeant Major is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police rank above Staff Sergeant but junior to Sergeant Major. It is roughly equivalent to a Canadian army Master Warrant Officer or a British army Warrant Officer Class 2.-Britain:...

, it, along with the other two, are specialized ranks and not part of the normal progression, which would proceed from Staff Sergeant to Inspector.

Singapore

A Sergeant Major appointment exists in each military unit from company to division/formation. Their main job is to assist the commander in the discipline and welfare of the enlisted men. Being expert at parades and ceremonies, their authority and responsibility extends to officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

s on the parade square. In the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

 , two kinds of Sergeant Major exists, a Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major is an appointment held by warrant officers class 1 in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers in the Canadian Forces...

 and a Company Sergeant Major. An RSM maybe placed in charge of a battalion, brigade, division or service level. Example, if he was an RSM of a brigade he would be known as a Brigade Sergeant Major, a division, Divisional Sergeant Major. An RSM could also be appointed as RSM for a vocation, i.e. Infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 vocation/formation Sergeant Major. This appointed usually be held by a Senior Warrant Officer or a Master Warrant Officer, although at times a 1st Warrant Officer may be appointed. A Company Sergeant Major may be a 1WO, 2WO and 3WO. Sometimes, a Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

 or a Staff Sergeant may be appointed. This practice is also mirrored in the National Cadet Corps
National Cadet Corps (Singapore)
The National Cadet Corps is a youth organisation in Singapore. As of December 2010, it had a total strength of 19877 members. This consists of 823 Officers, 726 Cadet Officers and 17157 cadets, amongst others.The NCC is represented in 144 Secondary Schools and there are a total 176 School...

 with the Master Sergeant or Staff Sergeant being appointed as Unit Sergeant Major. Also, some schools with more than one unit, i.e. having a Land as well as a Sea unit might appointed an RSM from either unit.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the rank of Sergeant Major exists in the Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Police Service
Sri Lanka Police Service
The Sri Lanka Police Service is the civilian national police force of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The police force has a manpower of approximately 85,000. It is responsible for enforcing criminal and traffic law, enhancing public safety, maintaining order and keeping the peace...

. In the Army a Warrant Officer 2nd Class (WO2) is known as a Sergeant Major while a a Warrant Officer 1st Class (WO1) is a Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major is an appointment held by warrant officers class 1 in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers in the Canadian Forces...

. In the police the most senior Non-Gazetted Officer rank is Police Sergeant Major (PSM).

South Africa

As described above, Sergeant-Major is not a rank
South African military ranks
-Army:The SA Army was formed in 1912 as the Union Defence Force. It was given its present name in 1951. The rank system is derived from that of the British Army.-Officers:General officers* Field Marshal...

 but an appointment held by a Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) or Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2). Regardless of the appointment, the Warrant Officer is addressed as “sergeant-major”.

Up until 1 June 2008, the highest appointment (Level 1), that was held by a WO1 was the Sergeant-Major of the South African National Defence Force
South African National Defence Force
The South African National Defence Force is the armed forces of South Africa. The military as it exists today was created in 1994, following South Africa's first post-apartheid national elections and the adoption of a new constitution...

.

Other senior Warrant Officer appointments up until 1 June 2008 were
  • Level 2: Sergeant-Major of the Army
    South African Army
    The South African Army is the army of South Africa, first formed after the Union of South Africa was created in 1910.The South African military evolved within the tradition of frontier warfare fought by commando forces, reinforced by the Afrikaners' historical distrust of large standing armies...

  • Level 3: Formation Sergeant-Major
  • Level 4: Group or Base Sergeant-Major or Regimental-Sergeant Major


The South African Air Force
South African Air Force
The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...

 had a similar structure for its Warrant Officers who are also addressed as "sergeant-major".

Starting 1 June 2008, the Warrant Ranks (Army/ Navy/ Air Force) are:
  • Master Chief Warrant Officer (formerly level 1)—e.g. Master Chief Warrant Officer of the South African National Defence Force.
  • Senior Chief Warrant Officer (formerly level 2)—e.g. Senior Chief Warrant Officer of the South African Army.
  • Chief Warrant Officer (formerly level 3)
  • Master Warrant Officer (formerly level 4A)
  • Senior Warrant Officer (formerly level 4)
  • Warrant Officer Class One
  • Warrant Officer Class Two


A Company/Squadron/Battery Sergeant Major should ordinarily be a WO2.

United Kingdom

In the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

, Company/Battery/Squadron Sergeant Major is an appointment for a WO2 and Regimental Sergeant Major is a WO1 appointment.

Due to differences in nomenclature between Regiments and Corps Sergeants Major's titles do vary; Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM) and Battery Sergeant Major (BSM) for instance would be found in the Cavalry
Royal Armoured Corps
The Royal Armoured Corps is currently a collection of ten regular regiments, mostly converted from old horse cavalry regiments, and four Yeomanry regiments of the Territorial Army...

 and Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 respectively, and in the REME
Reme
Reme may refer to:*Rəmə, Azerbaijan*Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers...

 there are the appointments of Artificer Sergeant Major (ASM).
Sergeant Major Instructor
Sergeant Major Instructor
Sergeant Major Instructor is a British Army appointment held by Warrant Officers Class 1 in the Small Arms School Corps and the Army Physical Training Corps and by some WO1s in the Royal Engineers.- Cadet forces :...

 (SMI) is an appointment held by Warrant Officers Class 1 in the Small Arms School Corps and the Army Physical Training Corps and by some WO1s in the Royal Engineers. It is also an appointment held by some of the civilian adult instructors in the Army Cadet Force
Army Cadet Force
The Army Cadet Force is a British youth organisation that offers progressive training in a multitude of the subjects from military training to adventurous training and first aid, at the same time as promoting achievement, discipline, and good citizenship, to boys and girls aged 12 to 18 and 9...

.

A Mechanist Sergeant-Major is a specialist most often found in the Corps of Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 or the Royal Army Service Corps
Royal Army Service Corps
The Royal Army Service Corps was a corps of the British Army. It was responsible for land, coastal and lake transport; air despatch; supply of food, water, fuel, and general domestic stores such as clothing, furniture and stationery ; administration of...

, and was the title of one of the major characters in the book and the film based on it, Ice Cold in Alex.

For the use of "Sergeant Major" as a form of address, see the articles on Regimental
Regimental Sergeant Major
Regimental Sergeant Major is an appointment held by warrant officers class 1 in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers in the Canadian Forces...

 and Company Sergeants Major
Company Sergeant Major
A company sergeant major is the senior non-commissioned soldier of a company in the armies of many Commonwealth countries, responsible for standards and discipline. In combat, his prime responsibility is the supply of ammunition to the company...

, and that on Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant
Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in several countries.The origin of the name is that they were part of the staff of a British army regiment and paid at that level rather than as a member of a battalion or company.-Australia:...

s.

The posts of Regimental and Squadron Corporal Major are the Household Cavalry
Household Cavalry
The term Household Cavalry is used across the Commonwealth to describe the cavalry of the Household Divisions, a country’s most elite or historically senior military groupings or those military groupings that provide functions associated directly with the Head of state.Canada's Governor General's...

's equivalent of Sergeants Major, as the Household Cavalry traditionally does not have ranks named Sergeant. The Rifles
The Rifles
The Rifles is the largest regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five regular and two territorial battalions, plus a number of companies in other TA battalions, Each battalion of the Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light...

 use the spelling Serjeant Major.

Israel Defense Forces

Rav samal mitkadem

insignia IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...




The רב-סמל מתקדם Rav samal mitkadem, Sergeant major is a non-commissioned officers (נגדים) rank in the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF). Because the IDF is an integrated force, they have a unique rank structure. IDF ranks are the same in all services (army, navy, air force, etc.). The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 developed in the British Mandate of Palestine period to protect the Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

. This origin is reflected in the slightly-compacted IDF rank structure
Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv...

.

Israel Defense Forces ranks : Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO)
IDF NCO
Rank
רב-סמל
Rav samal
רב-סמל ראשון
Rav samal rishon
רב-סמל מתקדם
Rav samal mitkadem
רב-סמל בכיר
Rav samal bakhír
רב-נגד
Rav nagad
Abbreviation רס"ל
Rasal
רס"ר
Rasar
רס"מ
Rasam
רס"ב
Rasab
רנ"ג
Ranag
Corresponding
Rank
Sergeant First Class
Sergeant First Class
Sergeant First Class is the seventh enlisted rank in the U.S. Army, above Staff Sergeant and below Master Sergeant and First Sergeant, and is the first senior non-commissioned officer rank...

Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major
Sergeants major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, Sergeants Major are usually appointments held by senior non-commissioned officers or warrant officers...

Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

Chief Warrant Officer
Chief Warrant Officer
Chief warrant officer is a military rank used by the Canadian Forces and the Israel Defence Forces.-Canada:In the Canadian Forces, a chief warrant officer or CWO is the most senior non-commissioned member rank in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force...

Insignia
More details at Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv...

 & IDF 2011 - Ranks (idf.il, english)



United States

Sergeant Major insignia
(U.S. Army)


Command Sergeant Major
rank insignia
(U.S. Army)



Command Sergeant Major
collar insignia
(U.S. Army)


Sergeant Major insignia
(U.S. Marine Corps)



Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

insignia

United States Army

In the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, Sergeant Major refers to both a military rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 and a specific administrative position. The rank refers to the highest enlisted rank
Enlisted rank
An enlisted rank is, in most Militaries, any rank below a commissioned officer or warrant officer. The term can also be inclusive of non-commissioned officers...

, just above First Sergeant
First Sergeant
First sergeant is the name of a military rank used in many countries, typically a senior non-commissioned officer.-Singapore:First Sergeant is a Specialist in the Singapore Armed Forces. First Sergeants are the most senior of the junior Specialists, ranking above Second Sergeants, and below Staff...

 and Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

, with a pay grade of E-9, NATO rank OR-9 . The leadership position, Command Sergeant Major, is the senior enlisted advisor
Senior Enlisted Advisor
A Senior Enlisted Advisor in the United States armed forces is the most senior enlisted service member in a unit, and acts as an advisor to the commanding officer. Most units will have a formal billet for the senior enlisted advisor, from a platoon's platoon sergeant to the Senior Enlisted Advisor...

 to the commanding officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

 and carries with it certain ceremonial functions such as caring for the unit's colors (flag). Additionally, they serve as monitors of, and advocates for, the enlisted men in the command. This position mostly exists in units of battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 size and larger.

Because the Command Sergeant Major represents all of the enlisted soldiers in the command, he or she does not wear the collar insignia of his or her career specialty
United States Army branch insignia
Branch insignia of the United States Army refers to military emblems that may be worn on the uniform of the United States Army to denote membership in a particular area of expertise and series of functional areas...

 (e.g., infantry, quartermaster, intelligence, inter alia), but instead wears the Command Sergeant Major (formerly "branch immaterial") collar insignia. The insignia is a gold-color rendering of the coat of arms of the United States; like the branch of service insignia of all U.S. Army enlisted soldiers, it is placed upon a gold-colored metal disk, one inch in diameter.

A SGM or CSM is referred to, and addressed, as "Sergeant Major". The Sergeant Major of the Army
Sergeant Major of the Army
The Sergeant Major of the Army is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army NCO is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, when in that case that NCO will be the most senior...

is a separate and unique position.

United States Marine Corps

In the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, Sergeant Major is the ninth and highest enlisted rank, just above First Sergeant
First Sergeant
First sergeant is the name of a military rank used in many countries, typically a senior non-commissioned officer.-Singapore:First Sergeant is a Specialist in the Singapore Armed Forces. First Sergeants are the most senior of the junior Specialists, ranking above Second Sergeants, and below Staff...

, and equal in grade to Master Gunnery Sergeant
Master Gunnery Sergeant
Master Gunnery Sergeant is the ninth and highest enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps...

, although the two have different responsibilities. Sergeant Major is both a rank and a military billet
Billet
A billet is a term for living quarters to which a soldier is assigned to sleep. Historically, it referred to a private dwelling that was required to accept the soldier....

. Marine Corps Sergeants Major serve as the senior enlisted Marine in the Corps' units of battalion, squadron or higher echelon, as the unit commander's senior enlisted advisor
Senior Enlisted Advisor
A Senior Enlisted Advisor in the United States armed forces is the most senior enlisted service member in a unit, and acts as an advisor to the commanding officer. Most units will have a formal billet for the senior enlisted advisor, from a platoon's platoon sergeant to the Senior Enlisted Advisor...

 and to handle matters of discipline and morale among the enlisted Marines. Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a unique non-commissioned rank and billet in the United States Marine Corps....

is a separate and unique position with a protocol equal to a 3 Star general.

History

In the 16th century, the sergeant major or Sargento Mayor
Sargento Mayor
Sargento Mayor was a rank immediately below that of Maestro de Campo in the Spanish tercios of the 16th and 17th centuries. Initially second in rank to a Coronel in a Colunella, the Sargento Mayor became second in rank to the Maestre de Campo after the creation of the tercios in 1534...

 was a general officer. He commanded an army's infantry, and ranked about third in the army's command structure; he also acted as a sort of chief of staff to the army's commander.

In the 17th century, sergeants major appeared in individual regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

s. These were field officer
Field officer
A field officer is an army, marine, or air force commissioned officer senior in rank to a company officer but junior to a general officer; in some navies, it is an officer who is a Lieutenant Commander, Commander, or Captain....

s, third in command of their regiments (after their colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

s and lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

s), with a role similar to the older, army-level sergeants major (although obviously on a smaller scale). The older position became known as sergeant major general
Sergeant Major General
Sergeant major general is a now extinct military rank that can trace its origins to the Middle Ages. Originally simply sergeant major, the title—unlike the modern military rank of the same name—signified a general officer, commander of an army's infantry and typically third in command of the army...

to distinguish it. Over time, the sergeant was dropped from both titles, giving rise to the modern ranks of major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

and major general
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

.

The full title of sergeant major fell out of use until the latter part of the 18th century, when it began to be applied to the senior non-commissioned officer of an infantry battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 or cavalry regiment.

It is about this time that the U.S. and British histories of the title diverge, with the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

.

United States

The first official U.S. use of the term was in 1776, when a sergeant major was appointed to the headquarters of each infantry battalion of the Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

. The rank was in use by both the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 and the Confederate Army during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. At that time, it was the highest enlisted rank, being just above Quartermaster Sergeant
Quartermaster Sergeant
Quartermaster Sergeant is a class of rank or appointment in some armed forces, especially those of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.-Ireland:Quartermaster Sergeant appointments in the Irish Defence Forces include:...

. The same rank insignia was used by both armies. Both armies varied the color of the stripes by assigning red for artillery, yellow for cavalry, and blue for infantry. Some Confederate militia units varied these colors even farther and had other colors including black stripes for various units. In 1920 with the standardization of the army's enlisted pay grades, it ceased to be a title of rank or grade. However, it survived as the job title of the senior NCO of a battalion and was re-introduced as a rank in 1958 when Congress authorized the E-8 and E-9
Enlisted rank
An enlisted rank is, in most Militaries, any rank below a commissioned officer or warrant officer. The term can also be inclusive of non-commissioned officers...

 pay grades. The appointment of Sergeant Major of the Army
Sergeant Major of the Army
The Sergeant Major of the Army is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army NCO is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, when in that case that NCO will be the most senior...

 was created on July 4, 1966. Command Sergeant Major got separate insignia in 1968.

The U.S. Marine Corps' first sergeant major was Archibald Sommers, appointed on January 1, 1801. This was originally a solitary post, similar to the modern Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, but by 1899 there were five Sergeants Major. The title was abolished in 1946, but re-introduced as a rank in 1954. The post of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps was established in 1957, as the senior enlisted advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

United Kingdom

The British use of the term was formalised in 1797, when the sergeant major was added to the battalion or regimental staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

. When chevrons were introduced as badges of rank, he wore four, later under a crown.

In 1813, cavalry regiments introduced the Troop Sergeant Major
Troop Sergeant Major
In the British Army, the Troop Sergeant Major is the senior NCO in a Royal Artillery troop, usually a Warrant Officer Class 2.This differs from a cavalry troop or infantry platoon, in which the highest-ranking NCO is usually a sergeant....

to replace the Quartermaster
Quartermaster
Quartermaster refers to two different military occupations depending on if the assigned unit is land based or naval.In land armies, especially US units, it is a term referring to either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior...

as the senior NCO of a troop
Troop
A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron and headed by the troop leader. In many armies a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry section or platoon...

; this required the existing position to be explicitly redesignated the Regimental Sergeant Major. Later, the rise of the squadron as the principal sub-regimental unit saw the corresponding introduction of the Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM). The infantry, however, hung on to the undifferentiated, one-per-battalion sergeant major until the eve of the First World War, when the introduction of the Company Sergeant Major forced them to adopt the RSM title as well. (As an infantry regiment could be, and usually was, made up of a number of battalions, one would logically expect the new title to be Battalion Sergeant Major rather than Regimental Sergeant Major. Perhaps the infantry felt this would imply a lower status than their cavalry equivalents.)

In 1881, the cavalry RSM and infantry Sergeant Major were among a number of senior non-commissioned positions that were confirmed with warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

s, making them warrant officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s. This was extended and rationalised in 1915, with the introduction of the new ranks of Warrant Officer Class I (WOI) and Warrant Officer Class II (WOII). RSM became an appointment of the former, CSM and SSM of the latter.

The Royal Marines continued to use a single rank of Sergeant Major, equating to Warrant Officer Class I, until after the Second World War, when they adopted the Army system.

External links

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