The selection for the 16th sergeant major of the Army is a decorated, Ranger-tabbed artilleryman who has deployed in support of nearly every major combat operation that has taken place over the course of his career.
Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, command sergeant major for Army Forces Command, will succeed Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey as the Army's top enlisted soldier, the service announced Tuesday. Dailey has been in the position since January 2015. Grinston will assume the post Aug. 16, officials said.
"I look forward to working with Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston," Army Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement. "The Army is in the midst of a renaissance, and he is a great choice to carry on our readiness, modernization and reform efforts."
Grinston, from Jasper, Alabama, is a career artilleryman who enlisted in 1987, according to his official biography. Prior to becoming command sergeant major for FORSCOM, he served as CSM for I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and prior to that as CSM for 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Grinston has deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and to Kosovo, according to his biography. He has also deployed, twice each, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and most recently in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against ISIS, as part of the Army's first deployment of a division headquarters.
His awards include five Bronze Stars, two with valor devices, as well as the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. His qualifications and badges include the Ranger tab, Master Parachutist badge, Air Assault badge, Drill Sergeant identification badge and Combat Action Badge.
One of Grinston's Bronze Stars was earned during costly fighting in 2004 in Bayji, Iraq. Grinston, then a first sergeant with 1st Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, recalled to Stars and Stripes in 2005 how he had rallied suppressive fire and rescued casualties in the aftermath of a deadly insurgent attack.
"A lot of bad things happened (for me) to get those awards," Grinston told the paper. "People are dead; people are missing limbs. It's something I don't want to think about."
"Congratulations to Command Sgt. Maj. Grinston and his family," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said in a statement. "He is a world class leader who stands out among our exceptional Noncommissioned Officer Corps. He is the right Noncommissioned Officer to lead our Army into the future."
Grinston's work at FORSCOM included helping to develop training for deployable combat units. He's a hands-on leader who just this week published a public service announcement warning soldiers not to operate vehicles without sufficient training.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Grinston is the right leader," the outgoing SMA, Dailey, said in a statement. "He possesses all of the character and leadership qualities necessary to lead our NCO Corps into the future, and he will continue to serve the best interests of our Soldiers, their families and the Army."