Command Sergeant Major Thetford entered the United States Army in July 1981. Upon completion of his initial training as an Infantryman, CSM Thetford was assigned to Company B, 2d Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington, where he served as a Rifleman, Fire Team Leader and Squad Leader. In 1986, CSM Thetford served with the Mountain Ranger Camp as a Mountaineering Instructor and Platoon Small Group Leader.
CSM Thetford assessed for a Special Mission Unit in 1990. He served as a Team Member/Operator, Team Sergeant Instructor/Writer, Operations Sergeant Major, Troop Sergeant Major, Squadron Sergeant Major and Unit Command Sergeant Major. In September 2011 CSM Thetford became the Command Sergeant Major of Joint Special Operations Command. He served in this position until October 2014. CSM Thetford is currently serving as the Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He assumed responsibility in October 2014.
CSM Thetford has deployed multiple times throughout his career, supporting Operation Urgent Fury, UNOSOM II, Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, EW DAWN and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. He has also participated in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.
CSM Thetford has completed the following significant military courses: Ranger Course, Jumpmaster Course, Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course, Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Course, Pathfinder Course, Special Forces Combat Diver Supervisor Course, United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Senior Leaders Force Management Course, Keystone Course.
CSM Thetford’s significant awards and decorations include the following: Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with V-Device and 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantry Badge Second Award, Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Special Operations Diver’s Supervisor Badge and Australian Parachutist Badge.
CSM Thetford holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Science Studies from Campbell University and a Master’s of Corporate Security from Webster’s University.