Command Sergeant Major Donald E. Thomas
United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command
United States Forces Korea and Eighth United States Army
November 1995 – February 1999
Command Sgt. Maj. Donald E. Thomas, a native of Fairfax, Virginia, enlisted into the United States Army as a military policeman in 1971 and began his military career at Fort Campbell, Kentucky where he attended basic training. He completed Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Over the course of the next 29 years, he devoted himself to the training, leading, development and education of Soldiers and Noncommissioned Officers. His experiences while serving during the Vietnam era conflict made him a uniquely qualified expert in law enforcement and physical security. His assignments at the installation and on senior Army staffs served as a catalyst for him to instill in others a desire to train and care for Soldiers by emphasizing self and professional development, leader competence, and encouraging lifelong learning.
His most significant contributions to leader development and the Sergeants Major Academy were demonstrated while he was assigned as the command sergeant major to the United States Forces Korea and Eighth United States Army. Here he made assignment of instructors to both the Eighth Army NCO Academy and the Sergeants Major Academy his number one priority insisting on selecting only the best qualified leaders to teach the future junior and senior NCOs of the Army and sister Services. A strong supporter of the advancement and education of our international partner nation’s NCO corps education, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas played a pivotal role in the selection of Korean Army senior noncommissioned officers attending the Sergeants Major Academy. These noncommissioned officers took their experiences back to Korea and have had a tremendous impact their respective armed forces.
Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas made a direct contribution to the growth and development of our most senior noncommissioned officers by serving as a senior mentor for the United States Army Command Sergeant Major course held at Fort Bliss, Texas and with the United States Army Pre-Command Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He provided keen insight and leadership philosophy as a senior Army member of a flag officer command team.
Upon his retirement, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas continued to support the NCO Corps and its development by becoming the assistant director of NCO and Soldier Programs for the Association of the United States Army, where he continues to serve as a mentor by traveling throughout the Army and conducting professional development sessions. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Army Heritage Foundation that promotes and preserves Army history and the continuing education of noncommissioned officers. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Sergeant Major Larry L. Strickland Educational Leadership Scholarship and presents awards at every U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Course graduation in recognition of academic excellence.
His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal (fifth award), the Joint Service Medal (second award), and the Army Commendation Medal. He is a member of the United States Army Military Police Corps Regiment Hall of Honor and a recipient of the Order of the Marechausee.