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Army Loses an Icon

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POSTED: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 5:19pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 10:03am

First Sergeant Major of the Army Passes Away

The very first Sergeant Major of the United States Army ,William O. Wooldridge, has passed away.

Today, soldiers, civilians, friends and family mourn his passing and honor his great legacy.

"I tell ya, being the first of anything is a challenge and what he really did was he established a great foundation coming out of the Vietnam War," said Command Sgt. Maj. Rory L. Malloy, commandant, USASMA.

Sgt. Maj. Wooldridge was an advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Army and to members of Congress. He had huge responsibility and set the bar high. He also could be blunt.

“The first time I met him he said you need a haircut," said current Sgt. Maj. Of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler.

He might've had a sharp tongue, but his mind was sharper.

"His body was weakening, mind was stable. I was always amazed that he could reminisce even at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII he could tell you who was laying in the fox hole next to him by name and rank," said retired serviceman Al Hobbs.

Soldiers were most important to him and he never forgot them, even in his last days.

" I hope all of us one day have that type of legacy where even you know at the end, he was still concerned about the thing that he loved the most, which was the army and the soldiers in it," said current Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler.

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