Command Sgt. Maj. James A. Vail
166th Regiment Regional Training Institute
May 2006–December 2009
Command Sgt. Maj. James A. Vail has served as the command sergeant major for the 166th Regiment (Combat Arms) Regional Training Institute at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, since May 2006. He has also served on the Noncommissioned Officer Education System Subject-Matter Expert Team at the National Guard Bureau since May 2006.
Prior to assuming duties as the regimental command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Vail served as the commandant of the 166th Regiment’s 3rd Battalion (NCO Academy) from 1996 to 2006.
Command Sgt. Maj. Vail hails from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and initially entered military service in September 1971. He began his Army career as a machine gun operator in Company A, 2nd Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, 56th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, and has spent the majority of his career in infantry and noncommissioned officer education assignments.
Command Sgt. Maj. Vail has completed all levels of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (Non-Resident Class 1-97). He has also completed the Instructor Training Course and the Information Management Course.
Command Sgt. Maj. Vail is a 1971 graduate of York College with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. He is a member of the Association of the United States Army and the National Guard Enlisted Association.
Command Sgt. Maj. Vail led a staff that worked directly with USASMA in developing the Battle Staff NCO Course for members of the National Guard and Army Reserve. This led to training and certification opportunities for the Reserve and National Guard that were not available prior to Command Sgt. Maj. Vail’s initiative. He also conducted pilot programs of the First Sergeant Course, which was later adopted by the Army as the primary program of instruction.
His foresight led him to begin a new form of instruction at that time — distance learning. He embraced this technological change and assisted in transforming the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course to the distance-learning method used today in certain phases of select NCOES courses. Today’s NCOES is a direct reflection of Command Sgt. Maj. Vail’s leadership, direction and contribution to the corps of noncommissioned officers.
Command Sgt. Maj. Vail and his wife, Karen, live in Port Clinton, Pennsylvania, and have two children and three grandchildren.