Sgt. Maj. of the Army Julius W. Gates
8th Sergeant Major of the Army
July 1987–June 1991
Julius W. Gates is a native of North Carolina. He enlisted in the United States Army on August 12, 1958, and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. He served three tours in Germany, two combat tours in Vietnam and a tour in the Republic of Korea. In the course of 33 years, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gates dedicated himself to training Soldiers. He has held every leadership position from rifle squad leader to sergeant major of the Army and is a graduate of Class 8 of the Sergeants Major Course.
Throughout his career, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gates has understood one thing: Training is critical. He dedicated his entire career to ensuring that training was always at the forefront of taking care of Soldiers.
As the 8th sergeant major of the Army, Gates worked closely with Chief of Staff Gen. Carl E. Vouno to establish the Year of Training campaign followed by the Year of the NCO campaign that led to the creation of The NCO Journal magazine. It is the only magazine within the Department of Defense dedicated to the professional development of the noncommissioned officer. Under Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gates’ guidance, the concepts of a Battle Staff NCO Course, a new NCO Evaluation Report and the Self-Development Test (a replacement for the Skill Qualification Test) were established.
Throughout his career, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gates was instrumental in training. While assigned to the Ranger School in the late 1960s, he taught Ranger students the basics. As a sergeant first class, he was the senior instructor for bayonet training and assistant senior instructor for land navigation. In 1973 he was assigned to the Mountain Ranger Camp, where he was the chief instructor for the patrolling committee.
During his tenure as the command sergeant major of 8th Army, he was responsible for refurbishing the 8th Army NCO Academy and was recognized for an exceptional Soldier of the Quarter program.
As the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy from September 1984 to July 1985, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gates was instrumental in assuring funding for the Academy’s new campus stayed on track, secured funding for two new buildings for the First Sergeant Course, introduced common-core training to the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course and started the planning phase for the implementation of the Battle Staff NCO Course.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gates continues to serve the Academy by participating annually in the SMA panel for students of the Sergeants Major Course during the annual Nominative Sergeant Major and Senior Enlisted Advisor Conference. He also serves as an advisor to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and routinely takes time to visit Soldiers in the field as they train.