These are the heroes behind the movement


Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Steven Payton

Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Steven L. Payton was born in Grenada, Mississippi. Soon after graduation from Grenada High School, Steve enlisted in the U.S. Army in August of 1986. He attended Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, OK, as a 13 Foxtrot, Forward Observer.

Prior to serving in his final assignment as the United Nations Command (UNC), Combined Forces Command (CFC), United States Forces Korea (USFK) CSM, CSM(R) Payton served as the Department of the Army G-3/5/7 Operations Sergeant Major, Pentagon, accountable to the Secretary and Chief of Staff Army and Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Operations on matters of training, education, professional development, and policy matters for the Total Army.

Steven’s military career concluded in Washington, DC where he served as the Army’s first Senior Enlisted Fellow to the Department of Veterans Affairs under the Chief of Staff and Sergeant Major of the Army Fellowship program.

CSM ® Payton’s deployments include Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, three tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as well as two tours in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), all with the 82nd Airborne Division.

CSM(R) Payton has served in several leadership positions in his 33+ years of service, including Forward Observer, Team Sergeant, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Division Operations Sergeant Major, and Command Sergeant Major at the Battalion, Brigade, ASCC, HQDA Staff, and 4-Star Command Levels.

Previous duty assignments as a CSM include: 1-319th AFAR, 18th Fires BDE (ABN) and 82d Airborne Division Rear (TF All American) at Ft. Bragg, NC, HQs, United States Army Japan at Camp Zama, Japan; and HQs United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea, at Youngsan, South Korea.

Awards and Decoration Include: The Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2nd Award), the Bronze Star w/two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal w/Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Presidential Unit Citation w/Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (11th Award), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/Arrowhead Device, NATO Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Korea defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army NCO Professional Development Medal (5th Award), Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Medal (4th Award), NATO Medal, Saudi Arabian for the Liberation of Kuwait Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Badge w/ Bronze Star, German Parachutist Badge. He is also the Recipient of the Ancient Order of St. Barbara’s Medal, and a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

His military education includes, Jumpmaster and Master Jumpmaster’s Course, All levels of NCOPDS, the Battle Staff Course (Leadership Award Winner and Top 10% selection), United States Army Sergeants Major

Academy Class #56 (Top 10% selection), the Command Sergeants Major Course, Senior Leader Development Seminar at the Army War College, Army Force Management Course, United States Army Legal Orientation Course, University of Virginia, and the Keystone Leaders Course.

His Civilian Education includes:

Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts, Excelsior College

Master of Science in Executive Leadership, Liberty University.

CSM Payton retired from Active duty after over 33 years of service and continues to serve our service members a member of the Korea Defense Veterans Association Board of Directors and AUSA’ Center of Leadership, Leadership Fellows Program.

Steven currently works as Senior Technical Leader, Department of Engineering and Development, at KBR. The program supports DoD’s Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aerial System Directorate.