Jeffrey Lewis Becomes First African American Sergeant Major in Iowa National Guard

JOHNSTON, Iowa -- First Sergeant Jeffrey Lewis made Iowa history on Sunday. He is the first African American to be promoted to Sergeant Major in the Iowa Army National Guard.

Sergeant Major Lewis enlisted 37 years ago as a combat medic.

“As a medic you take care of people. You are able to go out and walk with the infantry. You are able to go out and be with the artillery guys, the cav guys. And your primary, sole responsibility is to take care of them and that’s what I do like, taking care of soldiers,” Lewis said.

He was deployed twice during his career, supporting Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lewis said one of his favorite things about his job is discipline.

He aspires to continue moving up in the ranks and someday become a Command Sergeant Major like so many of his mentors.

Command Sergeant Major Kent Brix said Lewis has been a very influential person for his unit and is very motivated.

“He worked with his soldiers to make them stronger than what they were when he came in,” Brix said.