Colonel Joseph Ostrowidzki

United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

September 1979 – July 1983

Colonel Joseph Ostrowidzki was born in Lodz, Poland and survived a Russian concentration camp as a young boy before immigrating to New York after World War II. He would eventually enter Siena College in Loudonville, New York and later graduated with a Master’s Degree in Personnel Management from Central Michigan University.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and entered the U.S. Army in June 1958. His early assignments included missile battalions in Korea, Ohio and Germany followed by Liaison Officer, 6th Artillery Group at Fort Bliss. He served in Vietnam as a District Senior Advisor before assignment to the Staff Communications Division as the Assistant Secretary of the General Staff, Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army. He then served as the Commander, 1st Battalion, 62d Air Defense Artillery, and Executive Officer in the 25th Infantry Division Artillery before serving in the Majors Division, U.S. Army Military Personnel Center. Colonel Ostrowidzki then served as Commander, 5th Training Brigade where he was picked to be fifth USASMA Commandant. He subsequently served as the Chief of Staff of the Army Criminal Investigation Command before culminating his career as the first Garrison Commander at Fort Bliss.

Colonel Ostrowidzki made a major impact on the development of sergeants major and the evolution of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System while at USASMA.

Upon his selection to head up the Academy, Colonel Ostrowidzki was charged by the commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command to take a look at USASMA and recommend mission changes. What resulted was an extensive mission expansion for the organization. Not only would USASMA be responsible for developing and conducting the Sergeants Major Course, but Colonel Ostrowidzki added that the Academy would be responsible for all courses within NCOES, as well as other functional courses.

Under Colonel Ostrowidzki’s command, USASMA first standardized NCO training for the Army by combining the Primary Leadership and Primary NCO Courses into the Primary Leadership Development Course to better serve combat, combat support and combat service support personnel at the junior level for 17 proponent NCO Academies. Then common core curricula were developed, approved and implemented Army-wide for the first time for each level of NCO Education: the First Sergeants Course, the Advanced NCO Course, and the Basic NCO Course. The Academy became the center for NCO development and the approval authority for any changes to these common core curricula. These courses remained the NCO educational “ladder” for over twenty years and were adjusted in line with new technologies and other revisions.

His other accomplishments include the establishment of the Museum of the Noncommissioned Officer and it’s supporting association, and the Oral History Program in 1981; and he was also instrumental in the initial design, approval and construction of the current USASMA campus which opened its doors four years after his term as commandant was complete.