Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael

14th Sergeant Major of the U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)

Alford L. McMichael was born and raised in Hot Springs, AR and enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1970. After completing infantry training school and basic infantry training, McMichael served with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, CA, in 1973.
McMichael later became a drill instructor, series gunnery sergeant, and battalion drill master at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. In 1979, after McMichael attended Marine Security Guard School, he served at the American Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark. He went on to complete the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy Advanced Course in 1984. McMichael also served in Okinawa, Japan, as first sergeant of Company C, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

In May 1991, McMichael served as sergeant major of Officer Candidates School at Quantico, VA. Eight years later, he became the first African American to assume the post of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. During his tour, McMichael helped establish the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

McMichael decided to delay his planned retirement in 2003. Instead, he took on the role of senior noncommissioned officer at Allied Command Operations, a newly created post. He held this position until his retirement in July 2006.

During his service, McMichael received a Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.