Sgt Maj Alford McMichaelSgt. Maj. Alford McMichael

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Military Officer

In 1999, Alford McMichael, the 14th sergeant major of the U.S. Marine Corps, made history as the first African- American appointed to the post. The highest-ranking noncommissioned officer in the Marines, the highly decorated sergeant major advises Congress and the USMC Commandant on issues affecting Marines worldwide, with a personal focus on the needs of Marine Corps families. The sergeant major has come a long way from segregated Hot Springs, where the Boys & Girls Club was the only color-blind place to play. He credits the Club, which he joined at age 9, with giving him a vision of what the world should and could be.