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Carlton W. Kent
KentCarlton USMC.jpg  USMC-E9-SGMMC.svg
16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Place of birth Memphis, Tennessee
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1976-present
Rank Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Unit United States Marine Corps
Awards Legion of Merit with gold award star
Bronze Star

Sergeant Major Carlton W. Kent is the current Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, assuming the post on April 25, 2007.[1][2][3][4] He succeeded SgtMaj John L. Estrada, who had been serving in that capacity since June 2003.



Carlton Kent was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from South Side High School in Memphis.[5]

He completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in March 1976 and was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade.

In May 1978, Kent was transferred to Marine Security Guard Battalion where he served as a Marine Security Guard at American Embassies in Kinshasa, Zaire, and in Panama.

In June 1981, Kent transferred to Fort Benning for Airborne School and Parachute Riggers School at Fort Lee, Virginia. In June 1982, he was assigned as 2nd Air Delivery Platoon Commander, and parachute rigger billets in various commands at Camp Lejeune.

In February 1983, Kent was transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California for duty as a drill instructor, senior drill instructor, and battalion drill master with First Battalion. In January 1985, Kent was meritoriously promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.

In May 1985, Kent transferred to the 3rd Air Delivery Platoon as platoon sergeant. In June 1986, he transferred to Engineer Company, BSSG-1 1st Marine Brigade, Hawaii as Company Gunnery Sergeant. In March 1988, Kent was assigned to Noncommissioned Officers School, 1st Marine Brigade as the NCOIC.

In February 1989, Kent transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina as a student at Drill Instructor School. After completion of Drill Instructor School, Kent was assigned to Naval Aviation Officers Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida as a Drill Instructor, Chief Drill Instructor, and First Sergeant. In February 1990, Kent was promoted to First Sergeant and assigned as First Sergeant, Marine Aviation and Training Support Group, Pensacola, Florida.

In June 1992, he transferred to 4th Marine Regiment for duty. In June 1993, he transferred to the Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas. After graduation, in February 1994 he was transferred and assigned as First Sergeant, Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines. In December 1994, he assumed the duties as the Sergeant Major of the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines.

Sgt Maj Kent salutes the grave of Sgt Maj Bestwick

In August 1997, Kent was transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California where he was assigned duties as Sergeant Major Second Recruit Training Battalion, and, in September 1999, as Sergeant Major Recruit Training Regiment.

In May 2001, he was transferred to Marine Forces Europe/Fleet Marine Force Europe, Stuttgart, Germany, where he was assigned the duties as the Sergeant Major of Marine Forces Europe/FMF Europe.

In April 2004, he was transferred to I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California where he served as the Sergeant Major of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. On January 19, 2007, General James Conway, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, announced that SgtMaj Kent would become the next (16th) Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, succeeding SgtMaj John L. Estrada[6] On April 25, 2007, in a ceremony at the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., Kent assumed the top Marine Corps enlisted post.[1]

Awards and honors

Kent's awards include:

USN Parachutist.png
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Silver star
Silver star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia
1st Row Legion of Merit w/ 1 award star
2nd Row Bronze Star Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 award star Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 1 award star Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ 1 award star
3rd Row Combat Action Ribbon Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ 10 service stars
4th Row National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal
5th Row Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 8 service stars Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 3 service stars Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon w/ 2 service stars Marine Corps Security Guard Ribbon


  1. ^ a b Hoellwarth, John (April 26, 2007.). "Kent becomes top enlisted Marine". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  2. ^ Beth Zimmerman (April 10, 2007). "Kent to replace Estrada on April 25". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  3. ^ Delai, Marine Corps News, 2007.
  4. ^ "16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps assumes post". April 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  5. ^ Lloyd, Memphis Online, 2006.
  6. ^ Hoellwarth, Marine Corps Times, January 2007.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

Military offices
Preceded by
John L. Estrada
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
2007– present
Succeeded by


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