Jack L. Tilley
12th Sergeant Major of the Army
Jack L. Tilley was sworn in as the 12th sergeant major of the Army on June 23, 2000, and served until Jan. 15, 2004. A career Soldier, Tilley held many leadership positions within the Department of the Army and Unified Command environments.
As sergeant major of the Army, Tilley served as the Army chief of staff’s personal advisor on all enlisted-related matters, particularly in areas affecting Soldier training and quality of life. The SMA devoted the majority of his time to traveling throughout the Army observing training and talking to Soldiers and their families. He sat on a wide variety of councils and boards that make decisions affecting enlisted Soldiers and their families and routinely testified before Congress.
Tilley was born in Vancouver, Wash., on Dec. 3, 1948. He entered the Army in November 1966 and attended basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash., and advanced individual training at Fort Knox, Ky. Following tours in Vietnam and Fort Benning, Ga., Tilley left the Army for two years before enlisting again in September 1971
Tilley demonstrated his personal commitment to the Army and his Soldiers as he advanced to positions of higher responsibility. He held a variety of important positions culminating to his current assignment as the sergeant major of the Army. He previously held the senior enlisted position as command sergeant major of the United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Other assignments he held as command sergeant major were 1st Battalion, 10th Cavalry, Fort Knox; 194th Armor Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany; and United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Arlington, Va.
Throughout his 37-year career, Tilley held every key leadership position including: tank commander, section leader, drill sergeant, platoon sergeant, senior instructor, operations sergeant and first sergeant. His military education includes the First Sergeants Course and the Sergeants Major Academy. He is also a graduate of the basic airborne course, drill sergeant school and master gunner's course.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star with V Device, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Vietnam Service Medal and Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), NCO Professional Development Ribbon (4), Drill Sergeant’s Badge and Parachutist's Badge.