Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment
SGM (R) Thomas L. Pendleton
Prior to his service with the 16th Infantry, SGM Pendleton served in the 75th Ranger Regiment from the rank of Private through Sergeant First Class. Sergeant Major Pendleton next served in the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry from September 2005 to July 2008. His initial assignment was as the First Sergeant of A Company from 10 September 2005 until 1 April 2007. During this time, then 1SG Pendleton, was instrumental in helping to build the newly activated 2nd Battalion. 1SG Pendleton, with little guidance, developed a Team Leader Course to develop young private soldiers who had been identified as having leadership potential to serve as acting corporals. Under 1SG Pendleton’s leadership, these acting NCOs further helped to build the battalion by providing lower level leadership for new Rangers as they arrived.
Tapping into experience garnered during his previous experience in the 75th Ranger Regiment, he created a series of SOPs that would guide the Soldiers of the battalion in combat. With little guidance, Pendleton created the battalion’s Tactical SOP on which the new 2nd Battalion was trained to the highest of standards. That SOP and the training specified therein ensured that the battalion was able to fight and win in Baghdad only a year later. In March 2007, Pendleton was selected to create the Task Force Ranger Fusion Cell and thus was moved from A Company up to the battalion headquarters. Again, he created an SOP that resulted in the battalion using efficient special operations tactics, techniques, and procedures that would enabled its Soldiers to eliminate over 240 enemy fighters from the battalion’s area of operations. This proved to be the most enemy removed from any Baghdad area of operation during the entire two-plus year Baghdad “Surge.” After departing the 2nd Battalion soon after its return from Iraq, Pendleton attended the US Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. On graduation, he returned to Fort Riley, Kansas, to assume duties as the Operations Sergeant Major for the 1st Infantry Division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.
During this assignment, he served a 12-month tour in Basra, Iraq, assisting the division to plan and supervise the US Army’s withdrawal from Iraq. After that tour, he was later reassigned as the Operations Sergeant Major for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. In this capacity SGM Pendleton deployed overseas once again, this time to Afghanistan for nine months. There he oversaw the training, operations, morale, health, and welfare of the brigade’s enlisted personnel who manned six geographically dispersed battalions.
SGM Pendleton’s Military Awards include the Bronze Star Medal (2 OLC); Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC); Army Commendation Medal (4 OLC); Army Achievement Medal (4 OLC); Valorous Unit Award (1 OLC); Meritorious Unit Citation; Combat Infantryman’s Badge; Expert Infantryman’s Badge; Ranger Tab; Master Parachutist Badge; and the Pathfinder Badge.
Since leaving active duty in 2016, SGM Pendleton has worked at Fort Riley in the post G3 section as a security manager He was invested as a Distinguished Member of the Regiment in 2015 and is a Life Member of the 16th Infantry Regiment Association.
The Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment (HSGMOR) is appointed by the Secretary of the Army. The HSGMOR is a distinguished retired NCO in the rank of sergeant first class (SFC) or above with prior service in a unit of the regiment. The appointment will be for 3 years. A second 3-year tour may be granted by the appointing authority. Each regiment will have an HSGMOR, but only one will serve in the regiment at any given time. No one HSGMOR serve for more than one regiment simultaneously.
The duties of the HSGMOR within the regiment are ceremonial and do not conflict with the chain of command. Attendance at regimental functions is by invitation, and participation is encouraged. The position offers to the regiment the prestige, stature, and experience of the noncommissioned officer appointed as HSGMOR. The HSGMOR will assist the HCOR or HCOC in perpetuating the history of the regiment. HSGMOR appointees will be appointed as Distinguished Members of the Regiment simultaneously with their appointment as HSGMOR. To date, six distinguished retired noncommissioned officers have been appointed as Honorary Sergeant Major of the 16th Infantry Regiment.