SGM (Ret) James L. Gilbert

Sergeant Major (Retired) James L. Gilbert, a native of Franklin, New Hampshire entered the Army in March 1971 and retired after nearly 29 years of service on 1 Jan 2000.

Sergeant Major Gilbert graduated from basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Advanced Individual Training at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. His career began at Fort Benning, Georgia as a broadcast journalist with the 13th Public Information Detachment. In 1973, he transferred to the American Forces Korea Network (AFKN) in Seoul, Korea. He was assigned to the American Forces Network in Europe the following year, with duty at AFN Stuttgart. In 1977, he was selected for duty as an instructor in the broadcast department at the Defense Information School. He returned to Seoul, Korea as the news director at AFKN in 1981.

Sergeant Major Gilbert returned to Fort Benjamin Harrison in 1983 for duty with the Army Public Affairs Proponent Activity, where he served until December 1987. He graduated from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy in July 1988. He served as the Network Sergeant Major at AFKN until 1994. He was selected for the DoD nominative position of School Sergeant Major for the Defense Information School and served in that role until June 1999. His final assignment, while awaiting retirement, was as Special Advisor to the Director, Public Affairs Proponent Activity, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Fort Meade, Maryland.

Following his retirement, Mr. Gilbert entered civil service as a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army’s Baltimore Recruiting Battalion. He returned to the Defense Information School in July 2000, where he served as a Course Developer in the Directorate of Training. In September 2004 he was selected as the Department Head for the Broadcast Department. In April 2007 he was appointed as the Deputy Director of Training for the school. In 2018 he assumed duties as the Director of Training, where he was responsible for 32 separate courses providing
public affairs and visual information training to nearly 3,000 joint service military and civilian members annually.

Mr. Gilbert holds an Associate degree from the University of Maryland, European Division, and both bachelor of science and master of science degrees in Radio and Television from Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. He also holds a graduate certificate in Instructional Systems Development from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus.

In May of 2006 he was awarded the Distinguished Broadcaster Award recognizing more than 36 years of outstanding service to the American Forces Radio and Television Service. 

He was married to his beautiful wife Yong for 45 years. She passed away at home in Dec 2019. They have two children - Colonel Peter Gilbert, a Brigade Commander with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division at Fort Campbell, KY and Melanie, a Senior Customer Development Director for Johnson and Johnson - and three grandchildren, Sophia, Evan and Claire.

Mr. Gilbert stays busy as an active volunteer at the USO at BWI airport and as a certified volunteer docent at the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir.