Senior Master Sergeant - Historical Note

Historical Note

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 of the Military Pay Act of 1958. This act established the pay grades of E-8 and E-9 but without title. 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. In 1991 the Air Force changed its NCO insignia so that a maximum of five stripes were placed on the bottom of the chevrons, adding one above to each of the top three grades, resulting in the present form.

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