The senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff can be an E-9 from any of the services, but until now, hasn’t had a distinctive rank insignia the way the sergeant major of the Army, master chief petty officer of Navy, sergeant major of the Marine Corps and chief master sergeant of the Air Force have.

As current SEAC Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell prepares to hand over responsibility to Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, he sported new insignia Monday on his Army Service Uniform. Going forward, he said, SEACs will have the same pattern nestled between their chevrons and rockers.

The insignia, featuring an eagle gripping three arrows ― the chairman’s signature logo ― is surrounded by four stars, to represent the four-star officer the SEAC advises. The Institute of Army Heraldry consulted with representatives from all four services to create the design.

“This historic step gives this position irreversible momentum,” Troxell told reporters in a Pentagon briefing.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff will welcome the fourth SEAC on board when Troxell retires on Friday, as the position was only created in 2005. Distinctive positions for senior enlisted advisers are still a somewhat modern concept.

The Marine Corps created the SMMC billet in 1957. The Army got on board with its first SMA, William Wooldridge, in 1966. He was followed a year later by inaugural MCPON Delbert Black and MCSAF Paul Airey.

So far, two soldiers and a Marine have served as the chairman’s enlisted adviser. Colon-Lopez will be the first airman.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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