William E. Gortney

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William E. Gortney
Gortney in January 2015
Nickname(s) "Bill", "Shortney Gortney"
Born (1955-09-25) September 25, 1955 (age 62)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1977-2016
Rank US Navy O10 infobox.svg Admiral
Commands held U.S. Northern Command
North American Aerospace Defense Command
U.S. Fleet Forces Command
Carrier Air Wing 7
Carrier Strike Group Ten
U.S. Fifth Fleet
Battles/wars Cold War
Global War on Terrorism
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (4)

William Evans "Bill" Gortney (born September 25, 1955) is a retired United States Navy admiral who most recently served as the sixth commander of U.S. Northern Command and the 23rd commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). He previously served as the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command from September 14, 2012 to December 2014 and Director of the Joint Staff from July 1, 2010 to August 2012.[1] Prior to that, he served as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet. He assumed his post as CDRUSNORTHCOM and commander of NORAD on December 5, 2014, and was succeeded by USAF General Lori Robinson on May 13, 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Gortney was born on September 25, 1955,[2] and graduated from Elon College (now Elon University) in North Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science in 1977. He was an officer of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and a member of the varsity soccer team and the rugby club. The son of a retired U.S. Navy Captain and a second generation Naval Aviator, Gortney entered the U.S. Navy as an aviation officer candidate at Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS, Class 12-77 [The Gamesmen]) in the summer of 1977 at NAS Pensacola, Florida.


Gortney received his commission in the United States Naval Reserve in September 1977 and earned his wings of gold and designation as a Naval Aviator following graduation from the jet strike pilot training pipeline in December 1978.[3] Shore assignments include Training Squadron 26 (VT-26), NAS Chase Field, Texas, 1978–1980; Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125), NAS Lemoore, California, 1984–1988, and aide and flag lieutenant to the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare), Washington, 1990–1991. He is a 1996 graduate of the Naval War College, earning a Master of Arts in International Security Affairs. Additional command tours include Strike Fighter Squadron 15 (VFA-15), 1994–1995, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt, and VFA-106, the East Coast F/A-18 Fleet Replacement Squadron, NAS Cecil Field, Florida, 1996–1997. Fleet assignments include Attack Squadron 82 (VA-82), 1981–1984, on board USS Nimitz; VFA-87, 1988–1990, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt; executive officer, VFA-132, 1991–1992, on board USS Forrestal and executive officer, VFA-15, 1992–1994, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt.

In 2015, Adm Gortney ordered "recruiting centers, reserve centers and ROTC facilities to increase surveillance and take basic steps such as closing blinds at the offices," in response to an armed shooting in Tennessee that resulted in the deaths of five US servicemen.[4]

Flag assignments[edit]

Gortney's first flag tour was as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia, 2004–2006. This was followed by assignment as Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, during which time he was promoted to a two-star rear admiral. Appointed for promotion to vice admiral, he was then assigned as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet / Combined Maritime Forces. This was Gortney’s third command tour in the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of operations, supporting Maritime Security Operations and combat operations for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). His previous command assignments in the USCENTCOM area of operations include Command of Carrier Air Wing 7 while he was still a Captain, embarked aboard USS John F. Kennedy, in direct support of OEF in 2002. His second was as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Ten, on board USS Harry S. Truman, in support of Maritime Security Operations and OIF from 2007–2008.

Gortney’s experience in the U.S. Central Command area of operations includes serving on the Joint Staff, J-33 Joint Operations Department CENTCOM Division (JODCENT) from 1998–1999, and tours supporting the violent peace of Operation Southern Watch (OSW) from 2000–2001 as Deputy for Current Operations, Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) at Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia, and deploying as Deputy Commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, on board USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He also served as Chief, Naval and Amphibious Liaison Element (NALE) to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, for the opening months of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, followed as Chief of Staff for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain from 2003–2004.

Gortney has flown over 5,360 flight hours and 1,265 carrier-arrested landings, primarily in the A-7E Corsair II and the F/A-18 Hornet.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Medals and ribbons[edit]

U.S. military decorations
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 gold award star
Defense Superior Service Medal
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Legion of Merit w/ 3 award stars
Bronze Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service Medal w/ 2 award stars
1 golden star.svgAward numeral 2.png Air Medal w/ award star and bronze Strike/Flight numerals 2
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal w/ 2 oak leaf clusters
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Unit awards
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 1 oak leaf cluster
Navy Unit Commendation
Bronze star
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 1 bronze service star
U.S. service (campaign) medals and ribbons
Navy Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 service star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 1 campaign star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Silver-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.pngBronze-service-star-3d.png Sea Service Ribbon w/ 1 silver and two bronze service stars
Bronze star
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 1 service star
Foreign military decorations
The Khalifiyyeh Order of Bahrain, 1st class.png The Khalifiyyeh Order of Bahrain, 1st class
MSC ribbon-civil.png Canada Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division)
MEX Condecoracion al Merito Militar Primera Clase.png Condecoración al Mérito Militar, Primera Clase (Mexico)
MEX Condecoracion al Merito Naval Segunda Clase.png Condecoración al Mérito Naval, Segunda Clase (Mexico)
Legion of Honour, Knight (France)
Non-U.S. service and campaign medals
NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
U.S. badges
Naval Aviator Badge.jpg Naval Aviator Badge
Navy CaS.png Command at Sea insignia
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

As of October 2014, he is the holder of the Gray Eagle Award as senior naval aviator.


External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Navy.

Military offices
Preceded by
Charles H. Jacoby Jr.
Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command
Commander of the United States Northern Command

December 5, 2014 – May 13, 2016
Succeeded by
Lori Robinson