Marine Corps Veteran Alford L. McMichael is today's Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Alford L. McMichael, the first African American to become sergeant major of the Marine Corps.

Alford L. McMichael was born and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1970. After completing infantry training school and basic infantry training, McMichael served with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, in 1973.

Afterward, he became a drill instructor, series gunnery sergeant and battalion drill master at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. In 1979, after McMichael attended Marine Security Guard School, he served at the American Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark. He went on to complete the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy Advanced Course in 1984. McMichael also served in Okinawa, Japan, as first sergeant of Company C, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

In May 1991, McMichael served as sergeant major of Officer Candidates School at Quantico, Virginia. Eight years later, he became the first African American to assume the post of the sergeant major of the Marine Corps. During his tour as the 14th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, McMichael helped establish the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

McMichael decided to delay his planned retirement in 2003. Instead, he took on the role of senior noncommissioned officer at Allied Command Operations, a newly-created post. He held this position until his retirement in July 2006.

During his service, McMichael received a Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

Thank you for your service!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Writer: Rachel Heimann

Editor: Claire Pei

Fact checker: Gabrielle Reams

Graphic artist: Alyssa Morford

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Published on Feb. 28, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 160


  1. TALLEY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY March 1, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Outstanding Marine !! We served together on Okinawa in 1979 . We were on Float and Mack was in Shore Party . We were SSgts .

  2. Garry Owen February 29, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    I completed my tour of duty in Vietnam in August 1970 and my 3 year commitment to the Army. I’ve always held those who started their military careers at this time in high esteem, particularly career military, as morale, discipline, and espirit de corps were at a very low point. Many of those career military might have missed the Vietnam experience, but they remained committed to improving a seriously depleted military.

  3. Senior Veterans Care Network February 28, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for your service Alford L. McMichael.

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