5th SMA - William G. Bainbridge

5th SMA - William G. Bainbridge

Born: April 17, 1925, Galesburg, Illinois
Died: 29 November 2008


  • 1943 Inducted into service, Camp Grant, Illinois, and Basic Training, Camp Wallace, Texas
  • 1943-44 Air Cadet, U.S. Army Air Forces, University of North Dakota and Santa Ana, California
  • 1944-45 Squad Leader, Company A, 423d Infantry, 106th Division, Europe (break in service, 1946-50)
  • 1951-58 Platoon Sergeant, Personnel NCO, First Sergeant, 5012th Army Service Unit, Fort Sheridan, Illinois; Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Ft. Riley, Kansas
  • 1958-59 Operations Sergeant, 3d Battalion, 4th Training Regiment, Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • 1959-62 Operations Sergeant, G-3 Air Sergeant, Secret Document Control NCO, Headquarters, VII Corps, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1962-65 Sergeant Major, 1st Battle Group, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, Ft. Riley, Kansas
  • 1965-66 Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry; Sergeant Major, II Field Force, Republic of Vietnam
  • 1966-67 Sergeant Major, Infantry Training Center, Ft. Benning, Georgia
  • 1967-68 Sergeant Major, First United States Army, Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland
  • 1969-72 Sergeant Major, United States Army, Pacific, Ft. Shafter, Hawaii
  • 1972-75 Sergeant Major, Sergeants Major Academy, Ft. Bliss, Texas
  • 1975-79 Sergeant Major of the Army

Significant Accomplishments as SMA 

Among the accomplishments of his term as Sergeant Major of the Army, SMA Bainbridge felt proudest of securing permanent funding for the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. Next he valued his work on the Army Policy Council, to which General Frederick C. Weyand had appointed him. In keeping with his feeling that the duties of the Office of Sergeant Major of the Army were best carried out by working with the appropriate action and staff officers, SMA Bainbridge was instrumental in having senior NCOs placed on the general staff to which he himself was appointed by General Bernard Rogers.

Selected Decorations and Awards

  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Purple Heart with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Air Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • European-North African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Prisoner of War Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Combat Infantryman Badge