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William Joseph Gainey (born May 27, 1956) is a retired United States Army soldier who served as the first Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

William J. Gainey
William Joseph Gainey.jpg
Nickname(s)Fighting Joe
Born (1956-05-27) May 27, 1956 (age 63)
Jacksonville, Florida
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1974–2008
RankCommand Sergeant Major
Battles/warsIraq War
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (8)
Army Commendation Medal (8)
Army Achievement Medal (2)

Early lifeEdit

Gainey was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on May 27, 1956.

Military careerEdit

Gainey enlisted in the United States Army under the Delayed Entry Program in 1974 and entered basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky on June 17, 1975. Thereafter, he served in a number of enlisted leadership positions, from gunner to command sergeant major.

Gainey's assignments include: driver, loader, gunner, and tank commander in the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor (Tiger Brigade), 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas; gunner, tank commander, and platoon sergeant in the 4th Battalion, 73rd Armored, 1st Infantry Division, Böblingen, Germany; platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored, 24th Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia; drill sergeant and senior drill sergeant in the 19th Battalion, 4th Training Brigade, Fort Knox; platoon sergeant and Operations Sergeant in the 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; platoon sergeant and first sergeant in the 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry Airborne, Joint Readiness Training Center, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas; Senior Enlisted Armor Advisor, Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Gainey served as the command sergeant major for the 2nd Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; Eagle Base, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Polk; 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart; 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Polk; The United States Army Armor Center, Fort Knox; and as the command sergeant major for the III Corps and Fort Hood at Fort Hood, Texas.

Gainey served in Operation Joint Endeavor (IFOR), Operation Joint Guard (SFOR 3) and Operation Joint Forge (SFOR 8) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served as the command sergeant major for the Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) and as the command sergeant major of the Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I) in Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

Gainey attended numerous military schools and training programs to include: the Drill Sergeant School; Airborne School; Jumpmaster School; Air Movement Officer's Course; Observer Controller Course; First Sergeants Course; Pathfinder School; and the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Class 41. Gainey holds an Associate of Applied Science degree from Vincennes University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Touro University International and a Master of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Science in Leadership from Trident University International.

On October 1, 2005 Gainey was appointed the first Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a newly created position established to advise the Chairman on matters of professional development of enlisted personnel assigned to joint billets.


Since his retirement from the army, Gainey has taken a board member position at Trident University International.

Awards and decorationsEdit

  Combat Action Badge
  Master Parachutist Badge
  Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
  Drill Sergeant Identification Badge
  Pathfinder Badge
  Expert Rifle Badge
  III Corps Combat Service Identification Badge
  2nd Cavalry Regiment DUI
  11 Service stripes
  2 Overseas Service Bars

Gainey is also a recipient of:

  Gold Medallion of the Honorable Order of Saint George, United States Armor Association
  Silver Medallion of the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara, Air Defense Artillery Association
  German Armed Forces Badge of Marksmanship (Schützenschnur in Bronze)
  German Sports Badge (Military version in Bronze)