Next Top Enlisted Marine Is a Salty Warfighter Who Will Push PME, New Technology

Sgt. Maj. Troy Black, then Combat Logistics Battalion 5’s top enlisted leader, leads his Marines on a 7-mile hike at Camp Pendleton, Calif., ahead of a spring deployment. (Pfc. Timothy Childers/Marine Corps)
Sgt. Maj. Troy Black, then Combat Logistics Battalion 5’s top enlisted leader, leads his Marines on a 7-mile hike at Camp Pendleton, Calif., ahead of a spring deployment. (Pfc. Timothy Childers/Marine Corps)

Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, a Bronze Star with "V" recipient, has been selected to serve as the 19th sergeant major of the Marine Corps.

Currently the top enlisted leader with Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Black is a combat-tested and approachable leader, former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent told Military.com.

"He's a warfighter who leads by example," Kent said. "Marines are going to be able to communicate their issues to him, and he's one of those types of sergeants major who's going to jump right on top of those issues."

Black was named the service's next sergeant major on Thursday. He will replace Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green as the top enlisted leader later this year, according to a Marine Corps news release. Green will retire following 35 years of service.

Related: The 'Unflappable' Warrior-Scholar: Meet Your Next Marine Corps Commandant

Kent, who has tracked Black's career for years, said Marines can likely expect their next sergeant major to prioritize the technological advancements they will need to take on sophisticated enemies, along with professional military education.

"He's going to be the type of sergeant major who stays up on enlisted PME, and that's very important for all Marines," Kent said. "I know he's a big fan of the PME ... and that will be one thing that he's really going to focus on to develop [noncommissioned officers] into staff NCOs and continue with staff NCO PME so they can grow up to be great senior staff NCOs."

Black completed boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in 1988 before reporting to the School of Infantry and training as a machine gunner. He then went on to the Marine Corps Security Force Training Center in Virginia before deploying the following year in support of the U.S. invasion of Panama.

Black then deployed with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, during Desert Storm and to Japan before returning to the U.S., where he went back to Parris Island to train to become a drill instructor. He was promoted to gunnery sergeant in 2001 and deployed to Iraq as a company gunny with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, in 2003.

He later served as sergeant major of the Officer Candidates School before deploying to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, and again with Combat Logistics Battalion 5.

Black has deployed with several Marine expeditionary units and was later named the 11th MEU's top enlisted leader. He has earned the Combat Action Ribbon with two gold stars.

Black has advised general officers as 1st Marine Logistics Group's sergeant major and in his current role at Manpower and Reserve Affairs, where career policies are developed and decided.

His wife is a retired first sergeant, who Kent said understands what it's like to be an enlisted Marine and a military spouse. Both care deeply about Marines and their families, Kent added, and know the challenges that come with the lifestyle.

Lt. Gen. David Berger has been nominated to receive a fourth star and serve as commandant, and Kent said the pair will make a good team when it comes to listening to Marines' needs.

"[Black] is going to continue the legacy of that office, taking over from Sgt. Maj. Green who did -- and continues to do -- an awesome job," Kent said. "This selection is a very good thing for the Marine Corps."

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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