Command Sergeant Major Mark Ripka
U.S. Joint Forces Command/United States Africa Command
October 2007 – March 2011
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Ripka is a native of Peoria, Illinois, where he enlisted into the United States Army in 1975, beginning his military career at Fort Polk, Louisiana. During the next 36 years, Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka devoted himself to the training, development and education of Soldiers and noncommissioned officers.
As the Command Sergeant Major of U.S. Joint Forces Command and drawing on his own extensive training and mission experience, Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka was well ahead of his peers in identifying the key roles of senior enlisted leaders in joint and combined operations. With his knowledge he led the development of course materials and training opportunities for every grade level culminating in the first DoD Enlisted Professional Military Education Policy and the acclaimed Keystone Course, a course now considered essential for nominative Command Sergeants Major and service equivalents.
As the Command Sergeant Major of U.S. Africa Command, he extended and taught the value of noncommissioned officer education to African countries’ armed defense forces. The introduction of a graduated series of schools, unit experience, and self-development to emerging African armies has proven to be instrumental.
Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka has served in every leadership level including Drill Sergeant, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major. He also served time as an instructor at the III Corps NCO Academy at Fort Hood, Texas, and as a Senior Drill Instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka’s numerous awards include the Distinguished Service Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal (with 2 oak leaf cluster); Legion of Merit (with oak leaf cluster) Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation medal; Army Commendation Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters); Army Achievement Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters); National Defense Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster); Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with three oak leaf clusters); Iraq Campaign Medal; Ranger Tab; Airborne and Air Assault Badges; Combat Infantry Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; and the Drill Sergeant Badge.
Command Sgt. Maj. Ripka is a graduate of the Primary, Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses; Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officer Course; First Sergeant Course; Army Management and Staff College, Garrison Sergeant Major Course; National Defense University, Keystone Course; Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Joint Services Warrant Officer Course; Drill Sergeant Course; Ranger School; Airborne School; Air Assault School; and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) School. He is also a graduate of the U. S. Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Course, Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama.
He also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Resource Management from Troy State University, Troy, Alabama, and a Master of Science Degree in Business Organization Management from the University of La Verne, Orange County, California.