2021 Hall of Fame Inductee
Gary P. Fortunato was born on September 6th, 1947, in Union City New Jersey. His legacy of military service began when he was drafted into the Army in 1967, it would continue for another 30 years before his retirement in 1997.
Retirement was not the end of Sgt. Maj. Fortunato’s military legacy, he would turn his efforts away from his own service and to leading the next generation of Army leaders. For another 23 years, he would serve as a MS-II Instructor at Providence College in Rhode Island.
From 1997 to 2020, Fortunato taught over 575 MS-II cadets, participated in 46 FTXs, 500+ Color Guard ceremonies, coached an amazing 38,000 Cadets through the Advanced Camp Confidence Course, served as head of the confidence committee, and was the coordinator for the Providence Veteran’s Day Ceremony for the State of RI.
Cadets often talked about how Fortunato drove them to continuously be better and break the limits they set for themselves.
National Guard Capt. Daniel J. Girouard told Charles C. Joyce at news.providence.edu, “He made me who I am. I wouldn’t have contracted or commissioned if it wasn’t for Gary.”
Girouard isn’t alone. Many Cadets attribute their current success and service to the leadership and mentorship of Fortunato. Those who have studied under him will continue to be a large part of Fortunato’s legacy.
Providence College Cadets are not the only Cadets who were impacted by Fortunato’s leadership. Fortunato also helped run the Rappel Tower for Advanced Camp at Fort Knox as a part of Cadet Summer Training for a decade.
Fortunato spent his time instilling the Army’s values into the Cadets both inside and outside of his classroom. He truly embodied the Leadership Excellence that Army ROTC strives for and encouraged those he encountered to do the same.
About the Army ROTC Hall of Fame
The ROTC Hall of Fame was established in 2016 as part of the ROTC Centennial celebration. The first class (2016) inducted 326 former ROTC Cadets who had distinguished themselves in their military or civilian career.
The Hall of Fame honors graduates of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps who have distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits. It provides a prestigious and tangible means of recognizing and honoring Army ROTC Alumni who have made lasting, significant contributions to the Nation, the Army and the history and traditions of the Army ROTC Program.