The NCOLCoE held a special dedication ceremony Oct. 7 for SEAC (R) Joe Gainey. The event occurred in the Sergeants Major Academy’s Department of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational Operations foyer, the location of the SEAC Hallway.
Host for the event was Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Schmidt, NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and Sergeants Major Academy commandant who brought greetings to all. During the event the NCOLCoE unveiled the new nameplate changing Gainey’s rank from Command Sergeant Major to Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman as a result of the 9 December 2019 designation of the new rank of SEAC and retroactively being awarded to Gainey, the first SEAC.
“Personally, for me it is great to be here,” Schmidt said. “When you look at some of the legends where I grew up as a young airborne scout, guys like CSM Gainey and a lot of others really paved the way for us.”
Schmidt noted the event as truly humbling to be a part of it and to be able to talk to Gainey beforehand.
“It brings back a lot of memories for me,” he said. “It wasn’t just what he did while he was in uniform, but the way he mentored me, personally took the time to walk me through the minefield of a whole different level of being a sergeant major. If look at what he has done and continues to do, it is very profound.”
With his remarks complete, Schmidt assisted Gainey in unveiling the name plate redesignating his rank from command sergeant major to Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. That unveiling was followed by a presentation by Gainey to the NCOLCoE in the form of a large metal Army SEAC rank insignia hung on the wall adjacent to the SEAC hallway.
“I hear words like legacy. My legacy is this man right here, that man right there, that girl, that young man,” he said as he pointed to attendees in the room before shifting his attention to the ceremony and his gift to the NCOLCoE, Gainey said, “The [SEAC] rank was designed in 2005 by Command Sgt. Maj. retired Dan Elder who also designed the SEAC collar device.”
Gainey noted that he did not accept the new rank because “it wasn’t the right time. The other services were not ready for it.”
He said the rank was set aside for a while until the SEAC position was firmly established. That time came under SEAC John Wayne Troxell who debuted the new rank in 2019. As for the ceremony recognizing he being retroactively awarded the rank he said, “I am proud that you asked me to do this.”
He ended his remarks with his typical advice to all NCOs. “It’s not what you did that makes you important, it’s what you do for others to get them where you are at right now.”
The SEAC Hallway is located in the South Wing of the Sergeants Major Academy in the Department of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational Operations.
Additional photos are available on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sgmacademy/albums/72157719985091587