Army Master SergeantE-8 Noncommissioned Officer, U.S. Army
Army Ranks » Master Sergeant Rank • MSG Pay • MSG Rank History • Promotion Information
History of the Army Master Sergeant Rank
A Master Sergeant is a Noncommissioned Officer in the United States Army at DoD paygrade E-8.
The rank and title of Sergeant Major was first officially used in America with the appointment of a Sergeant Major to each battalion with the creation of the Continental Army in 1776.
It derives from the use of the term “Sergeant Major” in the British Army to identify the most experience and competent non-commissioned officer serving in a unit.
It held as the highest enlisted rank in a unit until the reorganization of the enlisted ranks in 1920 following WWI. At that time, the title of Sergeant Major ceased to be an official rank and title, although it survived as an honorary job for the most senior NCO serving in a unit at battalion level and above.
Upon further reorganization of the enlisted ranks by the US Congress in 1958, the rank and title of Sergeant Major as its own grade was reintroduced.
From that point until modern times, Sergeants Major served as the senior most enlisted soldiers at the battalion level and above.
Want to learn more? Read about the Army's Master Sergeant rank on Military-Ranks.org.
History of the Army
The Army is the oldest and most senior among the branches. The Army's heritage is traced back to the Revolutionary War, when each State of the Union had its own Army, lended to the command of General George Washington. Almost 250 years have passed, but the organizational structure and naming is largely the same. The Army is still divided into Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, Battalions, Companies, and Platoons.