FORT BLISS, Texas — SGM Benjamin T. Starling just completed the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Course, the Army’s capstone leadership course for senior enlisted soldiers, and was selected for promotion to Sergeant Major.
He will graduate from United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) on June 21 and will then take the position of Aviation Support Operations Sergeant Major of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Starling is a native of Lake City and graduated from Suwannee High School in 2000. He entered the military service in February 1999 as a member of the Florida Army National Guard in Live Oak. He completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. In March 2002, he requested a conditional release from the National Guard, entered the active component of the United States Army, and attended reclassification training at Fort Eustis, Va.
Sergeant Major Starling has held every Army leadership position from Team Leader to First Sergeant and has served as both an Aviation Production Control and Quality Control noncommissioned officer-in-charge (NCOIC).
His stateside assignments include 269th Engineer Company, Live Oak; D Company, 1-82 ARB, Fort Bragg, N.C.; B Troop, 1-17 CAV, Fort Bragg; D Troop, 1-17 CAV, Fort Bragg; A Company, 1-82 ARB, Fort Bragg; B Company, 224th MI BN (AE), Wright Army Airfield, Ga.; and student at The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, Fort Bliss, Texas. He served one overseas assignment with D Troop, 1-1 CAV, Budingen, Germany. His deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq (April 2003-Aug. 2004 and Aug. 2006-Aug. 2007); Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (April 2009-April 2010, Sept. 2011-Sept. 2012, and Aug. 2014-Dec. 2014); Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan (Jan. 2015- May 2015); and Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq (May 2017-June 2017). He is currently on assignment as the Aviation Support Operations Sergeant Major for the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, beginning Aug. 10.
Sergeant Major Starling’s military education includes the general construction equipment operator’s course, the OH-58 scout helicopter repairer’s course, U.S Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Air Assault School, the Warrior Leader’s Course (Commandant’s List), Advanced Leader’s Course (Distinguished Honor Graduate), Senior Leader’s Course (Distinguished Honor Graduate), the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Class 69 (Superior Academic Achievement), the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program course, and the Master Resilience Trainer course. His civilian education includes a high school diploma from Suwannee High School in Florida, a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College, and a fiber optics installer/technician certification from Aviation and Electronics School of America. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Science in Cybersecurity from Excelsior College.
Sergeant Major Starling’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3rd award), Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award), Army Commendation Medal (5th award), Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), Army Good Conduct Medal (6th award), National Defense Service Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (4 campaign stars), Iraqi Campaign Medal (4 campaign stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (numeral 5), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon (numeral 4), ISAF NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award (2nd award), Meritorious Unit Citation (3rd award), Combat Action Badge, Master Aircraft Crewmember Badge, Parachutist Badge (basic), Air Assault Badge, the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (gold) the Knowlton Award, and the Order of Saint Michael (bronze).
Sergeant Major Starling currently resides in Fort Bliss, Texas, with his wife Nicole Loomis Starling of Cameron, N.C., and his son, Daniel. He has two daughters, Jessica and Rebecca Starling, who reside in Live Oak. His parents are Bobby and Carmeta Starling of McAlpin.