Adm. Bill Gortney graduated from Elon College in North Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science in 1977. He entered the Navy as an aviation officer candidate, received his commission in the United States Naval Reserve in 1977, and earned his wings of gold in 1978.
On three different occasions, Gortney commanded forces in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, providing support to Maritime Security Operations and combat operations for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. These assignments included commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet / Combined Maritime Forces, Bahrain, 2008-2010; commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), 2007-2008; and commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, on board USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), 2002-2003.
Additional command tours included VFA-106, the East Coast FA-18 Fleet Replacement Squadron, NAS Cecil Field, Florida, 1996-1997; and VFA-15, 1994-1995, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
Gortney’s fleet assignments included VA-82, 1981-1984, on board USS Nimitz (CVN 68); VFA-87, 1988-1990, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt; executive officer, VFA-132, 1991-1992, on board USS Forrestal (CV 59); executive officer, VFA-15, 1992-1994, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt; and deputy commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, on board USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
Other overseas assignments included deputy for Current Operations, Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, Saudi Arabia, 1999; chief, Naval and Amphibious Liaison Element to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, for the opening months of OIF at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia; and chief of staff, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, NSA Bahrain, 2003-2004.
Shore assignments included VT-26, NAS Beeville, Texas, 1978-1980; VFA-125, NAS Lemoore, California, 1984-1988; Aide and flag lieutenant to the assistant chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare), Washington D.C., 1990-1991; Joint Staff, J-33 Joint Operations Department CENTCOM Division, 1998-1999. A 1996 graduate of the Naval War College, he earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies. His first flag tour was as the deputy chief of staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia, 2004-2006. From 2010-12 he served as director, Joint Staff. His most recent assignment was as commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, 2012-2014.
Gortney has flown over 5,360 mishap-free flight hours and completed 1,265 carrier-arrested landings, primarily in the A-7E Corsair II and the FA-18 Hornet. He is authorized to wear the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal (three awards: Gold Numeral One, two Strike/Flight), Defense Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Ribbon (8 awards), and the Overseas Service Ribbon (2 awards).