Command Sergeant Major Thomas Rucker was born on November 21, 1946 in Toledo, Ohio. He entered the Army in November 1964 as a Wheel and Track Mechanic. His career included five tours in Vietnam, three in Germany, and one each in Korea and Italy. He culminated his 30-year career with a four-year assignment as the 61st Ordnance Brigade Command Sergeant Major.
Sergeant Major Rucker served in a variety of assignments from organizational maintenance in missile units to battalion motor sergeant. He succeeded in all assignments and the Army recognized him by making him one of the first Ordnance soldiers to be selected as a Drill Sergeant in a Basic Combat Training Company. As a Repair Control Supervisor in the 9th Infantry Division, he was instrumental in developing maintenance support under the forward support teams that the Army currently uses. His packaging of the right mix of mechanics, supplies, and equipment allowed the supported units to receive on time, needed logistical support under adverse conditions. After serving two tours as a First Sergeant, he attended the United States Army Sergeant Majors Academy where he graduated in the top ten of his class. After graduation, he served as the Command Sergeant Major of the 169th Engineer Battalion with the mission of training basic and advanced training of Engineer Equipment Repairers.
During his assignment, the training of those MOS' was transferred to the Ordnance Corps and CSM Rucker was responsible for the smooth transition. As the Command Sergeant Major of the 8th Maintenance Battalion in USAREUR, he faced another challenge of changing the battalion's mission from General Support to Direct Support in all logistical areas in V Corps. His vast knowledge and experience ensured the success of this transition. Sergeant Major Rucker's last assignment was as the Command Sergeant Major of the 61st Ordnance Brigade, responsible for the training of Ordnance soldiers, non-commissioned officers, lieutenants and warrant officers.
He was instrumental in the development of cross training of instructors, the development of leader-trainers that exist in the NCO Academy today, and the quarterly award programs. This ultimately created superior morale within the training battalions and the training departments. CSM Rucker retired from active duty in 1994 after serving the Ordnance Corps and the Army with unquestionable integrity, loyalty and dignity.