Senior Master Sergeant
is the eighth enlisted rank (pay grade E-8) in the U.S. Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...
, just above Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...
and below Chief Master Sergeant
CMSgt ChevronChief Master Sergeant is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, just above Senior Master Sergeant, and is a senior non-commissioned officer. The official term of address is "Chief Master Sergeant" or "Chief".Attaining the rank of Chief Master Sergeant is the...
and is a senior non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...
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
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...
or Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...
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
First sergeant is the name of a military rank used in many countries, typically a senior non-commissioned officer.-Singapore:First Sergeant is a Specialist in the Singapore Armed Forces. First Sergeants are the most senior of the junior Specialists, ranking above Second Sergeants, and below Staff...
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 inappropriately 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.
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.
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....
- United States Military Pay
United States Military Pay is money paid to members in the United States Armed Forces. The amount of pay may vary by the member's rank, time in the military, location duty assignment, and by some special skills the member may have.-Pay versus Allowance:...
- U.S. Air Force enlisted rank insignia