William A. Connelly
Sixth Sergeant Major of the Army
William A. Connelly, the 6th Sergeant Major of the Army, was sworn in on July 2, 1979, and served until his term ended in June of 1983. He was born in Monticello, Georgia, on June 2, 1931.
Ordered to active duty in March 1954, he was a Tank Crewman, Tank Commander, Platoon Sergeant and First Sergeant in the 761st Tank battalion, 3d Armored Division at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The first of his four tours in Europe was with the 826th Tank Battalion at Hammelburg and Schweinfurt, Germany, from January 1955 until November 1956. The 826th returned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where Sergeant Major Connelly served as an Operations Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant until August 1958. He returned to Europe, serving as Platoon Sergeant with the 2/67th Armor, 4th Armored Division in Furth, Germany, from August 1958 through September 1961. He was back in CONUS at Fort Stewart, Georgia, as a Platoon Sergeant with the 3d Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor for less than 30 days when that unit was sent to Germany as part of the build up during the Berlin crisis.
Sergeant Major Connelly remained in Augsburg serving as a Platoon Sergeant with the 3/32d Armor until November 1962. He then moved to Munich, Germany, as a First Sergeant and Operations Sergeant in the 32nd Tank Battalion, and 24th Infantry Division. Back at Fort Stewart, Georgia, in August 1964, Sergeant Major Connelly served as First Sergeant of Company C, 4th Battalion, 68th Armor, 2d Infantry Division. In October 1965, his company was ordered to the Dominican Republic and remained there until July 1966. In January 1967, Sergeant Major Connelly assumed duties as Chief Enlisted Advisor to the Cavalry Squadron or the Georgia National Guard, headquartered in Griffin, Georgia.
His combat duty in Vietnam was as First Sergeant of Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division from October 1969 to November 1970. From then until May 1973, Sergeant Major Connelly served at Fort Knox, Kentucky as First Sergeant of the reception Station and several companies of the First Training Brigade as well as Sergeant Major of the 1st and 2d Battalions. Upon graduation he was assigned to Germany for his fourth European tour. Sergeant Major Connelly initially served as Sergeant major of the 1/35th Army, 1st Armored Division at Erlangen. In June 1975, he became Sergeant Major of the Seventh Army Training Command Grafenwohr and in July 1976, became Sergeant Major of the 1st Armored division at Ansbach. From that position, he was nominated and selected to the position of Sergeant Major of the United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia, in July 1977.
Sergeant Major Connelly's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal with V Device and (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal with V Device, Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Good Conduct Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.