Top enlisted Marine to be new senior enlisted advisor to Milley

Troy E. Black, the Sergeant Major of the Marines Corps, will become the top enlisted service member later this year. Yesterday the Pentagon announced that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley had named Black as the next Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman.

Black is the second Marine to fill the SEAC role, after Bryan Battaglia who served as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman from 2011-2015. He will replace the current SEAC, Ramón “CZ” Colón-López of the U.S. Air Force. Black, a Marine with 35 years of service, will be the fifth person to hold the position since it was created in 2005.

“It is my honor to announce the selection of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy E. Black as the next Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman,” Milley said in a statement. “He is the unquestionable choice to replace SEAC ‘CZ’ Colon-Lopez in defending and supporting our constitution.”

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As the title suggests, as SEAC Black will advise the chairman on issues concerning enlisted service members. Per the Department of Defense, the exact duties “may vary” but can include being a spokesperson on matters tied to the enlisted force. 

“Though not in the immediate chain of command, the SEAC serves as a vital conduit from the Chairman to the Service Senior Enlisted Advisors (SEAs) and the Combatant Command, Command Senior Enlisted Leaders (COCOM CSELs) to all enlisted members throughout the total force,” the department’s description says.

The soon-to-be SEAC has an extensive career in the United States military. He joined the Marine Corps in 1988, deploying on the USS Forrestal during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989 and later Kuwait for Operation Desert Storm. He also served as both drill instructor and senior drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. 

During the Global War on Terror, he deployed to Iraq twice with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines and later twice to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. Black has been awarded a Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device, the Legion of Merit with Gold Star and the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, among others. He was announced as the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 2019. 

Gen. Milley chose Black for the role, although Black will not be advising him. Milley will leave the role of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October. Air Force Gen. CQ Brown has been nominated to replace Milley, but has not yet been confirmed. 

Black’s replacement as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps has not been named.

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