Admiral Bill Gortney graduated from Elon College in North Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science in 1977. He was commissioned via the Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1977, designated a Naval Aviator in 1978, and retired in 2016.
During his 39 year career Bill Gortney commanded at every level in the Navy. Squadron command tours included VFA-106, the East Coast FA-18 Fleet Replacement Squadron, and VFA-15. Three additional commands were in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, providing support to Maritime Security Operations and combat operations for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. These assignments included Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet / Combined Maritime Forces, Bahrain; Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); and Commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, on board USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). Four Star commands included U.S. Fleet Forces Command, NS Norfolk, VA, and his final assignment as Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command.
Gortney’s additional tours provided extensive fleet, joint, overseas, and Washington D.C. experience, to include assignment as Director, Joint Staff. He holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Gortney flew over 5,360 mishap-free flight hours and completed 1,265 carrier-arrested landings. He is authorized to wear multiple awards to include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), The Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, the Sea Service Ribbon (8 awards), and the Overseas Service Ribbon (2 awards). Foreign awards include recognition from Bahrain, France, Mexico (2 awards), and Canada.
Admiral Gortney currently continues to serve in both public and private capacities, to include:
- Senior Fellow for CAPSTONE, National Defense University
- Member, Elon University President’s Advisory Council
- Independent consultant for Boeing Defense, Space & Security
- Member, Board of Advisors Draken International, Inc