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Sergeant Major William Gainey, the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff would visit the Stephenson Area Public Schools.

Sergeant Major Gainey arrived promptly at 9:30 after a 2 hour 47 minute flight in a lear jet from Andrews Air Force Base to our little Twin County Airport in Menominee, Michigan.

I introduced myself to him and shook his hand I immediately realized that he had “coined me”. It is an honor to be “coined”. It means “you’ve arrived” –though I don’t know where I was really going!

What is “COINING”? Let me put it THIS WAY:
When you have reached a position as the Sergeant Major has in the Pentagon then you have your “own” coins. Yes, like Napoleon and Julius Ceasar.It is a coin designed PERSONALLY for the Sergeant Major. Anyway, when he shook my hand he already had the coin in his palm and “left ” it in mine. That’s called “being coined”.

He asked me, in jest, to not sell it on eBay or any place else and of course I would not.However, I did want to share with all of you a picture of what his coin looks like.

Sergeant Major Gainey addressed the students and encouraged them to enjoy life and set goals and climb that mountain and go for everything. He reminded them to honor their parents, friends and relatives and not to let anyone tell them that they cannot meet their goals.

He had five rules he believed everyone should live by:

1. Don’t hurt yourself
2. Don’t hurt someone else
3. Don’t do anything illegal
4. Don’t do anything immoral
5. Don’t do anything to disgrace your family name or your country

He told the students if they answered “no” to following any of the above rules they needed to step back and do a self-assessment and ask themselves questions.

The Sergeant Major offered a “Q. and A.” session. When asked if he thought we should be in Iraq he said yes and he commented that 9/11 was like Pearl Harbor previously. He commented that there is a faction of people who want to destroy our way of life and suggested that we study the Muslim faith.

He stated that because of his position he has free access to go anywhere in the world to visit the soldiers, sailors, marines and coastguard to tell them how grateful he is for them doing what they are doing – defending our country.

When asked how long we should remain in Iraq the Sergeant Major responded “As long as we have insurgents.” He stated that the fear is if we leave too soon it will lead into some bigger problems. He suggested that everyone should read the book “What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam. He further commented that we needed to get Iraq stable before we could pull out. They had to be able to manage themselves.

One student inquired if he just sat behind a desk at the Pentagon all the time. Sergeant Major Gaines responded that his last tour of duty before accepting this position was for 13 months in Iraq. He had recently returned from a trip to China which he found to be an interesting country and had also visited the Philippines and had gone into the jungles where our troops were at.

To close the program he challenged 10 of the students to do push-ups and he would do one more than what they did. Each one of them pumped and pumped, including one girl, and they totaled 361. When they were finished the Sergeant Major said he wanted to see if they listened to him or if they heard what they wanted to hear. He said he would do one more push-up than all of them. So that is exactly what he did — one push up.

After the program was over we had a light luncheon with meat wraps and salads and vegetable trays. I had a few minutes to sit down and chat with the Sergeant Major and learned that he was, in fact, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas at the same time I was a soldier there (1975 – 1978). We both had served under General Patton and I remarked how I loved that man and he did also.

It was a great and exciting day and I hope something the students of this district will take to heart and remember the rest of their lives. I hope to share more pictures as I get them.SEE HIS COIN ABOVE!



April 8, 2007 - Posted by | blogging and money, current events and news, friendship and relationships, inspiration and encouragement

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