William G. Bainbridge
5th Sergeant Major of the Army
William G. Bainbridge, the fifth Sergeant Major of the Army, was sworn in on July 1, 1975, and served until June of 1979. He was born in Galesburg, Ill., on April 17, 1925.
He entered the Army in June 1943 from Williamsfield, Ill. Following basic training Bainbridge was recalled to active duty in January 1951. Following assignments at Camp Atterbury, Ind.; Fort Sheridan, Ill.: Fort Riley, Kan.: and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.: he was reassigned to Europe and served as the operations sergeant with Headquarters, VII Corps. In 1962 he returned to Fort Riley, Kan., where he served with the 1st Infantry Division as sergeant major of the 1st Battle Group, 28th Infantry, late reorganized as the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry. In 1965 he accompanied the battalion to Vietnam. Midway through his tour in Vietnam, Bainbridge was appointed command sergeant major of the II Field Force.
From September 1966 through August 1967 he was command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Infantry Training Center, Fort Benning, Ga. He then was appointed the command sergeant major of the First United States Army at Fort George G. Meade, Md., and later selected to serve as command sergeant major of the United States Army, Pacific, located in Fort Shafter, Hawaii. In October 1972 Sergeant Major Bainbridge became the first command sergeant major of the newly created United States Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, and remained there until his appointment as sergeant major of the Army on July 1, 1975.
Bainbridge's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 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 and the Combat Infantryman Badge.