John D. Sparks
Command Sergeant Major
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
Command Sgt. Maj. John D. Sparks entered the United States Army in Detroit, Mich., in May 1978. He attended basic training and advanced individual training for Military Occupational Specialty 19J, Armor Crewman, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
CSM Sparks served in various positions including 3rd United States Army, 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Armor Division, 2nd Armor Division, 3rd Armor Division, 3, the Armor Center, Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Knox and duty as a drill sergeant and drill sergeant instructor. He has served in all tank crew positions – cavalry scout, platoon sergeant, operation sergeant and first sergeant.
Sparks also served as the command sergeant major of 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, command sergeant major of 2nd Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, and command sergeant major for 1st Cavalry Division.
He also served as the command sergeant major for the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, as well as command sergeant major of the 3rd United States Army, Army Central Command and Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sparks assumed duties as command sergeant major of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va., Feb. 24, 2005.
While at TRADOC, Sparks was instrumental in leading the Army’s effort in making the Noncommissioned Officer Education System more relevant, instituted structured self development as a means to fill gaps in training and expanding the Army’s training capabilities.
In particular, he led efforts to transform the Warrior Leader Course, move the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course Common Core to a distance learning environment, establish the Advanced Leader and Senior Leader courses to replace the Basic Noncommissioned Officer and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer courses. He also spearheaded the use of Mobile Training Teams to provide needed NCOES training at home stations between deployments.
Sparks’ concepts for the Warrior University and the College of the American Soldier revolutionized and expanded education opportunities for Soldiers and NCOs alike. He has also championed life-long learning, not just as a strategic concept, but as a way of enhancing the Corps as true members of the profession of arms.