US Army Sergeants Major Academy – Joint National Guard & Army Reserve SGM Challenge Coin 2012-Present


As Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) advance in their career, their selection into the higher levels of responsibility and rank becomes increasingly competitive. This is more so among the Army’s Reserve & National Guard components as their representation is limited. To assist in the development of its senior NCOs, the Army established the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) as an institution,

“To develop agile and adaptive noncommissioned officers and enlisted Soldiers through professional military education opportunities that meet the challenges of unified land operations in an era of persistent conflict”. [1]

Founded in July 1972, the USASMA represents the combined effort between Active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve components (in an academic setting) to continually meet the leadership needs of the Army and other military branches. To assist in transitions, the USASMA utilizes the Reserve Component Advisors Office whose Mission is to

“Provide coordination between Reserve Component students attending NCOEs courses at USASMA, and Academy staff; assist students with component unique problems and situations that require home-station coordination. Serve as subject matter experts to advise the commandant, and staff directors on ARNG and USAR initiatives, operations, regulations, personnel issues, and changes regarding policy and procedure. [2]

Enter Sergeant Major (SGM) Allan Walz who serves as the USASMA senior representative to Army National Guard (ARNG) attendees, and SGM David Roldan providing support to students of the Army Reserve (USAR).

SGM Allan Walz

ProfileSGM Walz first entered into the ARNG in 1977 as a (91B – Medical Specialist) Private E-1. After completing his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and advanced individual training at Fort Sam Huston, TX. He would go on as an enlisted Soldier serving in a variety of medical positions and achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. In 1985 he was selected for full-time ARNG duty where he furthered his knowledgebase by attending the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Course as well as the Mechanized Infantry & Master Gunner Courses. This led him to become the first ARNG Battalion Master Gunner for the state of Minnesota in 1990. By 1997 he had exceeded his positional expectations and was selected to serve as Senior Operations and Readiness NCO at Fort Gordon, GA working as a patient advocate for Reserve Component Soldiers returning from Desert Storm. After pinning Master Sergeant in 1999, he was transferred to Senior Operations and Readiness NCO in San Antonio’s Great Plains Regional Medical Command continuing his advocacy efforts and working greatly with the Active Duty Medical Extension Program. Completing USASMA himself in 2003, he was selected as the Senior Enlisted Medical Advisor at the US Army National Guard Readiness Center and then Senior Medical Advisor at Medical Command (MEDCOM) in 2009. Finally, SGM Walz was selected as the Senior ARNG Advisor at the USASMA in early 2012 where he continues to advise his fellow NCOs and students alike.

SGM David Roldan

ProfileSimilarly, SGM Roldan received his Active Duty basic training at Fort Jackson, SC in 1984 and advanced individual training as a (72E – Tele-Communications) Private E-1 at Fort Gordon, GA. SGM Roldan switched from Active Army to the USAR in 1999, and by 2000 he had advanced to Sergeant First Class, having served in Operation Desert Storm (1990) and re-classing to 37F – Psychological Operations Specialist. Both positions provided him the opportunity to be assigned to locations in Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Offices in Georgia, Texas, Germany, and North Carolina. By 2005 he was again promoted to Master Sergeant and served in the 345th PSYOPS Company and 7th PSYOP Group as the Senior Operations Sergeant. Afterwards, he was selected as the G-3 Noncommissioned Officer in Charge at Fort Bragg’s US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Command (USACAPOC) in North Carolina. Attending the USASMA in 2011, SGM Roldan was pinned as a SGM on April 1st, 2012 before recently being selected later the same year as the USAR Representative at USASMA and Non-Resident Course Facilitator.

Joint Challenge Coin

SGM Walz and SGM Roldan first began working together at the USASMA’s Reserve Component Advisors Office in mid 2012 where they immediately found both shared the same professional values in leadership, mentoring, and soldiering. Wishing to express these views in a unique shared challenge coin; they selected a design that would incorporate their positions within the USASMA as senior advisers to the ARNG and USAR, as well as their professional views. SGM Walz and SGM Roldan both felt a 2” circular design was best for presentation purposes as it fits easily in the recipient’s hand. They also chose a digital ACU pattern for both sides of the coins field (background) because it symbolizes all Soldiers in the Army who wear the same uniform. When presenting their joint challenge coin both SGM Walz and SGM Roldan remind the recipients that; as personally procured challenge coins both their names appear on the Reverse and represent the uniqueness of the joint representation; and are numbered to know where each coin goes, who received it, when, and “they better not see it on Ebay because they will know who the hell sold them out!” Lastly, the overall coin is coated in epoxy to protect both sides from scratching, while the braided outer edge was chosen so that it would provide a smooth edge and take away the sharpness of the coin.



The Obverse of the Joint National Guard & Army Reserve SGM Challenge Coin incorporates the professional positions of both individuals. Centered is the USASMA crest that according to The Institute of Heraldry takes,

“The colors Army green and yellow and the embowed chevrons are associated with the basic device for the noncommissioned officers’ insignia of grade. The gold links refer to the role of the Sergeants Major as the link between the enlisted men and the organization commander. The star, which signifies command, also indicates the high evaluation required by senior noncommissioned officers for the advanced schooling and training in the Academy, the senior NCO school. The laurel wreath, signifying past meritorious performance needed for selection, and the star and chevrons are all emblems suggested by the highest insignia of grade for noncommissioned officers; they denote the Academy’s continued endeavor in training for the highest personal and professional achievements. The torch in dark blue, which was established as the National Color in Army Regulations 1821, is flamed to indicate zeal and together with the book signifies conveyance of knowledge and instruction in techniques required for enlightened leadership. The sword and quill pen represent both the combat and technical administrative services from which the Academy’s students are selected.” [3]

Furthermore, to the right of the USASMA crest is the seal of the US Army Reserves while on the left is the US Army National Guard. The ARNG is placed on the honorific position because it is the older of both organizations (the ARNG was established on December 13th, 1636 while the USAR was founded on April 23rd, 1908).  Above the USASMA crest appears the text “One Army” while below is “One Team”, both chosen by SGM Walz and SGM Roldan as phrases that,

“Exemplify what we [as Senior NCO’s] believe. The Active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard are all part of the “Big Army” and as such are part of “One Team””.

Along the outer edge is a gold band wherein is written “United States Army Sergeants Major Academy” along the top half, and “Reserve Component Office” along the bottom both denoting the coin’s origin.



On the Reverse of the joint challenge coin are multiple elements that further highlight the personal and professional views of both men. The representative rank of Sergeant Major for both men is front and centered. Both the names of SGM Walz and SGM Roldan appear above the rank while below is a serialized number (SGM Walz presents even-numbered coins while SGM Roldan presents odd). Against an outer band of gold is written the Army Core Vales (spelled as the acronym of LDRSHIP) with each value separated by a five-pointed star. Both SGM Walz and SGM Roldan identify with these by saying,

“The LDRSHIP values, which are the backbone of the NCO Corps and what we believe, are intrinsic to all NCOs”.




Works Cited

1. United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. “About USASMA.” United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. 2013. (accessed April 22, 2013).

2. —. “Reserve Component Advisors Office.” United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. 2013. (accessed April 22, 2013).

3. The Institute of Heraldry – Sergeants Major Academy. “Sergeants Major Academy.” The Institute of Heraldry. 2013. (accessed April 22, 2013).

Coordination provided by SGM Walz and SGM Roldan, United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. 


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