The Sergeant Major of the Army William G. Bainbridge Medal for exceptional service to the Noncommissioned Officer Corps was awarded to the Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey said that the glue that has held our Army together through almost eight consecutive years of war is the Noncommissioned Officer Corps—425,875 NCOs across all components who support the defense of a nation of more than three hundred million citizens. In spite of the stresses of a protracted war, they remain an innovative, competent professional corps, grounded in the heritage, values and traditions that embody the Warrior Ethos.
The NCO level of effort and dedication is most appropriately displayed through the number of NCO deployments and combat awards. They are currently deployed to more than 80 countries in missions ranging from overseas contingency operations to humanitarian work in Kosovo. Since the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, they have served more than 850,000 deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since the beginning of the war, two NCOs have been awarded the Medal of Honor and nine have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and more than 334 Silver Star Medals and 1,984 Bronze Star Medals with valor device had been awarded to NCO heroes.
These numbers represent a lifetime of commitment and dedication to our Army and our nation, compressed into the past eight years. Never in our nation’s history has such a small group of men and women been charged with such responsibilities over such a long period of time. Refusing to bow to the tremendous pressure of fighting two concurrent wars, NCOs continue to lead daily by example, train from their experiences, maintain and enforce standards, take care of Soldiers and adapt to a changing environment. These men and women bring critical and creative thinking skills, leader development and Warrior Leader skills to the fight.
Sergeant Major of the Army William G. Bainbridge, for whom this medal is named, passed away on 29 November 2008. He was a true Soldier-warrior who served his country and his Army, both in and out of uniform, for more than 65 years. It is fitting in the Year of the NCO that this medal is being awarded to the selfless and courageous corps of noncommissioned officers who exemplify everything he represented.
In grateful recognition of their dedication to duty and their many contributions to America’s Army past and present, the Association of the United States Army proudly presented the Sergeant Major of the Army William G. Bainbridge Medal to the United States Army Noncommissioned Officers on the fifth day of October, two thousand nine.