The NCOL CoE celebrates SMC Class 68 graduation

Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, the 15th Sergeant Major of the Army, speaks to the crowd, June 22, gathered for the graduation ceremony of Sergeants Major Course Class 68, at the Abundant Living Faith Center in El Paso, Texas. Dailey was the guest speaker for the graduation which totaled 705 students, including 59 international students from 46 countries as well as members of the United States Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard completed their 10-month course and will take positions throughout the Army as senior enlisted leaders. (U.S. Army photo by David Crozier)

By David Crozier, Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the accomplishments of the 705 students of Sergeants Major Course Class 68, June 22, in ceremonies at the Abundant Living Faith Center, El Paso, Texas. Class 68 had within its ranks 49 international students from 46 different countries as well as members of the United States Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Command Sgt. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of the Center of Excellence, welcomed the special guests and thanked all for attending. Sellers also lauded the efforts of the Center’s plans and operations section, the staff and faculty and the facilitators who taught the students throughout the year.

“These types of events just don’t happen on their own. It takes effective communication, collaboration and coordination on multiple fronts to be able to pull this together,” Sellers said before turning his attention to introducing the guest speaker Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Daniel Dailey. “I am proud to report,” he added, “705 fit, disciplined, well-educated professionals will be coming to a post, camp or station near you.”

Taking the stage Dailey joked about how the graduates facial expressions have changed since the last time he spoke to them saying today’s looked much better.

“So as I stand here looking at the next stewards of our profession, I can honestly say, today is a great day to be a Soldier. In fact every day is a great day to be a Soldier,” he said.

Photos of the Seregeants Major Course Class 68 graduation ceremony taken at the Abundant Living Faith Center, El Paso, Texas on June 22, 2018. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. James Seals)

Dailey recognized all of the families, friends and loved ones in attendance and thanking them for their sacrifice and support of their Soldier telling them, “If the Army’s greatest assets is its people, then our families are the bedrock of that foundation.”

Dailey also gave special recognized to the international students telling them their presence in the classroom makes a huge impact on the learning experience of all. He then launched into his graduation address.

“So it’s graduation day,” he said noting the students wanted him to hurry up, nobody would remember a thing he said, that he too had been there before. “Well just sit back and begin to forget what I am about to say.”

“This is just the beginning. Your are going to be a sergeant major, the pinnacle of your profession,” he said. “It’s starts at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. Are you ready to lead our most precious resource – America’s sons and daughters?”

Your are now the stewards of the nation’s most powerful weapon system – the Army Profession. He said.

“Take heed of the power that you have been given; cherish it; it is a gift, not a right; and it will be taken away from you if you don’t wield it properly,” Dailey said. You need to figure it out. There is no magic recipe for success.”

The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence celebrated the graduation of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Sergeants Major Course Class 68 in ceremonies June 22 held at the Abundant Living Faith Center, El Paso, Texas. Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, served as the host and welcomed everyone to the celebration. (U.S. Army photo by David Crozier)

Dailey then said he would not give the students any advice, but would leave them with his “Top Ten” list.

“It has changed some from the last time as my observations have changed as yours will as you move along.”

Dailey then proceeded to give his revised list.

  1. Yelling doesn’t make you skinny, PT does.
  2. It’s okay to be nervous, being nervous means you are humble.
  3. If you only justification for your continued existence in the United States Army is your 27 years of experience; it’s time to turn in your 4187 (retirement papers).
  4. Be more informed and less emotional – nobody likes a dumb loud mouth.
  5. Never forget that you are just a Soldier, no better, no worse than any other.
  6. If you constantly have to remined everyone all the time that you are the sergeant major and you’re in charge, you’re not.
  7. Be positive, if you can’t go home.
  8. Never forget to take the distinct opportunity to keep you mouth shut.
  9. True leaders don’t just tell people what to do, they inspire people. Leadership in its most simplistic form is simply getting people to accomplish the mission.
  10. If you can’t do what you expect your Soldiers to do, then they won’t respect you.

“Now that you are in a position to do, or not do those things, make a difference,” Dailey said. “Make the difference you promised yourself all those years ago that you would make if you ever got there. Be the leader that our Soldiers deserve.”

The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence celebrated the graduation of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Sergeants Major Course Class 68 in ceremonies June 22 held at the Abundant Living Faith Center, El Paso, Texas. Above, a student shakes hands with the 15th Sergeant Major of the Army, Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey while accepting his diploma. (U.S. Army photo by David Crozier)

The US Army Sergeants Major Course is and will always be the premier Professional Military Education (PME) institution in the world. We must remain a renowned academic leader in the study of leadership, the conduct of Unified Land Operations, and the application of Joint, Interagency, and Multi-National organizations to synchronize all elements of power to achieve national objectives. We will continue to provide our Army with agile and adaptive Sergeants Major prepared to be effective at all command levels of our Army. We will maintain a world-class faculty that leads by example with professionalism and high moral character. We will be dedicated to developing competence in communication, critical thinking, creative thinking, and decision-making skills, with a commitment to enhancing each NCO’s lifelong learning. We will be the model of professionalism that will not only be the key to the success of the SMC but influences the success of the entire USASMA and our Army.

The Army’s culminating enlisted Professional Military Education (PME) institution is the Sergeants Major Course. This course provides tools to develop critical reasoning, creative thinking and decision-making skills. Soldiers are provided an education that teaches them to enhance their character, self-expression, and strengthen teamwork abilities. The course assists in the development of logical, practical and original reasoning abilities necessary for problem solving. Students analyze problems based on available information, arrive at logical solutions and decisions with reasonable speed, communicate reasoning and decisions orally and in writing, and supervise to ensure proper execution. Intellectual honesty, integrity, and professional values and standards are highly stressed. The SMC contains a total of 1,484.7 instructional hours, and is also offered as a nonresident course which culminates with two weeks of resident instruction at the academy.

Additional photos of the graduation are available for viewing on our Flickr page at