Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) is the eighth enlisted rank (pay grade E-8) in the U.S. Air Force, just above Master Sergeant and below Chief Master Sergeant and is a senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO).
According to Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure:
SMSgts are key, experienced, operational leaders, skilled at merging their personnel's talents, skills, and resources with other teams' functions to most effectively accomplish the mission. SMSgts continue to develop their leadership and management skills in preparation for expanded responsibilities and higher leadership positions. SMSgts normally operate at the operational level of leadership.
Promotion to Senior Master Sergeant is the most difficult enlisted promotion to attain in the Air Force. It is the first enlisted grade to which results of a central promotion board are the primary factor in selection for promotion. Usually, less than ten percent of eligible Master Sergeants are selected for promotion to Senior Master Sergeant in most years. Selectees typically have vast technical and leadership experience gained from a broad variety of assignments at both line and staff functions throughout their careers. Additionally, the successful candidate will typically have at a minimum completed an associate's or bachelor's degree in their Air Force specialty as well as the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Correspondence Course and have had their latest performance report endorsed by a senior rater, usually a Colonel or Brigadier General.
Senior Master Sergeants typically assume superintendent duties, overseeing enlisted members' efforts to accomplish a major segment of a unit's mission, in preparation for promotion to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. They are expected to serve as mentors for noncommissioned and junior commissioned officers.
Senior Master Sergeants in the First Sergeant special duty serve as First Sergeants of larger units than those employing a Master Sergeant as a First Sergeant. These First Sergeants (pay grades E-7 to E-9) are referred to officially as "First Sergeant" (regardless of their pay grade), and unofficially as "First Shirt" or simply the "Shirt".
Public Law 107-107, the "National Defense Authorization Act", establishes senior enlisted strength levels for all branches of the US military. Currently, only two percent of the Air Force's total active duty enlisted strength may hold this rank.
Senior Master Sergeants are sometimes traditionally referred to by the nickname of "Senior". The only official terms of address are "Senior Master Sergeant" or "Sergeant" per Air Force Instruction 36-2618.
Read more about Senior Master Sergeant: Historical Note
Other articles related to "senior master sergeant, sergeant":
... The grade of Cadet Senior Master Sergeant (C/SMSgt) is the eighth enlisted grade of the Civil Air Patrol cadet program ... At this rank a cadet may serve as a First Sergeant ... However, it is not uncommon for a Senior Master Sergeant to be a Flight Sergeant ...
... Although the Air Force had been an independent service since 1947, the rank of Senior Master Sergeant did not come into being until the authorization ... It wasn't until late 1958 that the title of Senior Master Sergeant (and the accompanying rank insignia) was decided upon after polling its enlisted force ... At that time the senior master sergeant had only a single chevron above and six below, and a chief two above and six below ...
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