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Army names actor Denzel Washington Honorary Sergeant Major of the Army

Denzel Washington at the press conference of The Equalizer, 2014 Toronto Film Festival. (GabboT/Flickr)
October 14, 2021

The U.S. Army named actor and director Denzel Washington as an honorary Sergeants Major of the Army (SMA) in a ceremony last month.

In a Monday press release, the Army announced the honorary position for Washington in recognition of his work with the Fisher House Foundation, which provides temporary housing for military families with service members recovering from wounds. Task & Purpose reported Washington was honored in a small ceremony in New York on September 24.

The honorary SMA award was created to recognize individuals with extraordinary dedication to serving Soldiers and their families.

Washington has donated to the Fisher House Foundation and visited with wounded soldiers.

“That story of you giving to the Fisher House really touched me,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston told Washington during the ceremony. “I said we have to nominate Denzel Washington … I couldn’t be more proud to say that you are now going to be a part of our team.”

On Monday, Grinston also tweeted, “For his incredible support to our Soldiers and the @FisherHouseFdtn, it’s my pleasure to announce the 2021 Honorary Sergeant Major of the Army – Mr. Denzel Washington.”

Washington received the honored during ceremony for the Army’s Best Warrior Competition for 2021. Spc. Justin Earnhart, of Army Futures Command, was named the 2021 Soldier of the Year. Sgt. Adam Krauland, of U.S. Army Pacific Command, was named the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

In recorded remarks for the ceremony, Washington said, “I’ll continue to do the right thing for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. I’m here for you. Call me, when you need me. We all are free because of the sacrifices that you’ve made. God bless you all. God bless America.”

The Army also recognized Washington for directing the film “A Journal for Jordan.” The film portrays the real-life story of 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who was killed after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated under his Humvee while on a convoy in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006.

The film, which is adapted from the bestselling book by King’s fiance Dana Canedy, recalls the journal King wrote for his newborn son Jordan, providing his son with life advice on matters like how to behave around women and live his life with honor. In the journal, King also professed his love for Canedy.

The film stars actor Michael B. Jordan as King, and is set to be released this December.

Filming for “A Journal For Jordan” wrapped in December of 2020 at Fort Irwin. After filming concluded, Washington and Jordan shared a recorded holiday greeting for soldiers, families and civilians on the base.

“I want to say Happy Holidays to the U.S. Army, from me and DW,” Jordan said. “We appreciate all you guys do, all your service, all your sacrifice. Thanks to all the freedoms that you allow us to have.”

Washington said, “We love you, we respect you, we’re doing our best to honor you. God Bless you and have a safe and happy holiday. We’ll see you at the movies.”