FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- "My goal was never to attain a certain rank," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gary W. Williams. "It was always to do my best and serve my country."
After more than 28 years in service, Williams continues to serve his country, now as the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) Command Sergeant Major.
The 18th MEDCOM (DS) is an expeditionary Medical Theater Enabling Command that executes mission command, ensures readiness, plans, and synchronizes medical functions as part of the integrated multi-domain Joint Force and builds enterprise partnerships to strengthen relationships across the Indo-Pacific region.
"We don't just work with other Army units, but we work with all branches of the military," said Williams. "I am so excited to be a part of this incredible medical unit."
It has always been Williams' goal to be part of the medical field in some form or fashion.
"I knew before I raised my right hand, in 1991, that I wanted to serve in the Army in the medical field," he explained. "I told my recruiter over the phone that I wanted something medical, or I won't join the Army."
The recruiter eventually drove into his small Nebraska town to visit this aspiring Soldier face-to-face to find out more about his goals for the military.
"We sat around my kitchen table and had a discussion about all the opportunities in the U.S. Army," said Williams. "My recruiter was very truthful with my parents and me."
He added how great his recruiter was at getting him the job of his dreams; however, for Williams' parents, this decision seemed more like a nightmare.
"My mom was hesitant for me to join at the time because it was right in the middle of the Gulf War," said Williams. "I wasn't much concerned about joining because I knew I would receive the best training in the world that would prepare me for anything."
Williams went from living in a small town with more cattle than people to the training areas of Fort Knox, Kentucky, around people he didn't know.
"I was a little nervous when I got to basic training, but I got more comfortable at every level of training," said Williams, the Burwell, Nebraska native.
He went on to complete basic training and advanced individual training. Williams earned the title of Soldier in the U.S. Army and the job specialty of an Eye Specialist.
Williams said how proud his parents ultimately were of him for serving his nation by becoming a U.S. Army Soldier.
"I talked to my parents about once a week, and I still do, and they told me how proud they were," said Williams. "They were a great support for me whenever I needed them."
Williams added that when he was stationed at Fort Sill, he would spend many of his long weekends on the road driving to his hometown to spend time with his parents.
To broaden his skills and to provide more opportunities for his career, Williams would eventually change his job specialty to Combat Medic.
He said he learned early on to always set goals, and as you accomplish your goals, make new ones.
A different job wouldn't be the only positive change for this medical Soldier. He married a young lady from Texas, Charleen.
"Family is essential because it helps keep yourself goal-oriented," said Williams. "When I started a family, I realized just how pivotal they would be in my life."
He added how his wife wanted him to do well and to succeed, and that made him want to represent them well.
During his career, he was stationed around the world, including stops at Oklahoma, Texas, Korea, Washington, Kentucky, Washington metropolitan area, Kansas, and now Hawaii.
"I have had some great assignments and some not so great assignments," said Williams. "No matter what, I always learned from each experience."
"As the 18th MEDCOM CSM, I am excited to be a part of this amazing team of professionals," said Williams. "I look forward to all that we can accomplish here in this important region of the world."