Home > Uncategorized > Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael, USMC Retired by Gerald Curry

Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael, USMC Retired by Gerald Curry

A wise man once said: “We all leave a legacy, and need to share it with the world!”  The legacy that Alford McMichael has set is extremely high for younger generations to follow.  McMichael was selected as the fourteenth Sergeant Major of the United States Marine Corps.  In this position he was the highest ranking enlisted member in the Marine Corps and helped shape policies that improved Marines’ military standards and quality of life.  McMichael was the first African American to hold this position in the history of the Marine Corps.  Truly, he is a natural leader, mentor, motivator, and, now, astute businessman.

McMichael has since retired from the Marines, and now shares his story in his book simply titled, LEADERSHIP, Achieving Life-Changing Success From Within.  McMichael squeezed some precious time from his busy schedule to sit down with The Urban Voice to share his thoughts on leadership in today’s society.  Today, McMichael is the president of his own company, 4DREW Foundation.  He and his staff provide national mentoring and uplift forums to help keep teenagers in school and to create a positive vision and outlook on life.

McMichael wants today’s youth to know that success can be achieved if you are willing to work hard.  He has created his personal perspective on leadership that he calls his four points of life:  Vision, decision, action, and desire.  If you really want something bad enough you must be able to see it, decide to go after it, make sacrifices to get it, which requires action.  Then he recommends that you fall in love with it, and have the courage to stick to it.  This is the recipe to success and there is no getting around it!  

McMichael is from humble beginnings and calls Hot Springs, Arkansas home.  He comes from a family of ten children, so understanding struggle is nothing new for him.  McMichael explains that he was named after both his grandfathers, and considers it an honor to carry this family legacy forward.  He grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s and survived the terrorism of Jim Crow by being surrounded by a loving family and a community that cared for its members.  McMichael comments, “The laws said we could not go certain places, and people understood the laws and abided by them; later, when the laws changed, behaviors changed.”  He goes on to add, “This experience was really not about color, but about the people who raised me and the conversations we had around the dinner table. My Mother always wanted me to be the best, and that was all I knew!”

McMichael states that baby boomers did not pick up the template that their parents left for them, and did not see the effort that went into the struggle to make things happen.  “Somewhere along the way, some people lost the desire to achieve; and it starts at home.”  The example that McMichael uses is, “When a parent asks a child to clean their room, and gets resistance, the child needs to be reminded that this is the parents’ house and room that they allow the child to live in, and when clothes need to be picked up, these clothes belong to the parents and was purchased by the parent and loaned to the child for a period of time until they out grow them and that the clothes need to be respected and picked up.” 

McMichael believes that all children can achieve their dreams even when surrounded by and confronted with insurmountable odds.  “Inside all of us is a burning desire to excel and make the most out of life.  When children are born in toxic environments and experience huge difficulties, they need to keep on believing and achieving and success will come their way.”  Alford McMichael offers the right brand of leadership, inspired from a loving and caring community that instilled discipline, hard work, and a vision of excellence.

The Marine Corps properly recognized and rewarded McMichael’s leadership and integrity by selecting him for the highest position he could hold while serving on active duty, but it was his parents, family members and friends that truly gave him his start.  Success must be visualized, and it requires hard work if it is to become as routine as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. McMichael encourages today’s youth to aspire to become the best in whatever they engage, and not to get distracted by the hype and glamour of celebrities or athletes.  Take control of your life and be the best you that you can possibly be!

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