Iowa National Guard Appoints First African American Sergeant Major

Photo by: Sgt. Tawny Schmit

First Sergeant Jeffrey Lewis just made history as the first African American to be promoted to Sergeant Major in the Iowa Army National Guard. 

The 54-year-old began his military career with the Iowa National Guard in 1981 when he was enlisted as a combat medic, reports Des Moines Register.

"As a medic you take care of people," he told local news station WHOtv.com. "You are able to go out and walk with the infantry. You are able to go out and be with the artillery guys, the cav guys. And your primary, sole responsibility is to take care of them and that’s what I do like, taking care of solders."

Lewis getting penned by his mother Margaret Wright, Photo by: Sgt. Tawny Schmit

Throughout his career, Lewis has been deployed twice where he’s supported Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently holds the 68W Combat Medic Specialist’s Military Occupational Specialty and has worked full-time with the Iowa National Guard for more than 15 years.

Photo by: Sgt. Tawny Schmit

In his newly appointed position, Lewis will take on the duties of chief operations sergeant of the 109th Multifunctional Medical Battalion located in Iowa City. He says his ultimate goal, is to continue to climb the ranks and one day become a Command Sergeant Major.


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