Behind the Cover: Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent stays on


kentcoverThis week’s Marine Corps Times cover story puts to rest any questions over who will serve as the Corps’ senior enlisted leader for the next year — it’s Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent, who will continue to serve after the presumed new commandant, Gen. James Amos, takes over.

Kent became the Corps’ senior enlisted leader under Gen. James Conway on April 25, 2007. The sergeant major of the Marine Corps traditionally serves a four-year tour, but considering the terms for the SMMC and the CMC haven’t matched up since Gen. James Jones stepped down early as commandant early in 2003, the question always arises over how long a sergeant major of the Marine Corps will remain in office when a CMC reaches the end of his time in office.

With feedback from Kent and the CMC’s office, we dive into what the last year for Kent will hold. We also explore what the process to replace him likely will entail, with help from retired Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps John Estrada, who went through the process in 2003 before being selected to serve as the 15th SMMC from June 2003 to April 2007.


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I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

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