William Jackson "Bill" Gainey was born June 7, 1934 in Wilmington, NC. He joined the United States navy in 1955 and went to basic training in San Diego. Bill served on several ships out of Norfolk, including the USS Canberra and was off Cuba during the Bay of Pigs and again for the missile crisis. He also did a tour in New Foundland and Gitmo and then volunteered for duty in Vietnam. He first served with RIVDIV 511 and then joined RIVDIV 593, Iron Butterfly, in January of 1970 as a patrol officer.
On February 12, 1970, Chief Gainey was the patrol officer for PBR's 752 and 841 in ambush at the intersection of the Saigon and Thi Tinh Rivers. Heavy movement was detected on the beach and the patrol was poised for action when suddenly a grenade bounced on the canopy and landed on one of the boats. BMC Gainey grabbed the grenade and tossed it overboard before it exploded, saving the crew from injury. The boats then broke ambush and reconned by fire. For this action, Chief Gainey was awarded the Silver Star. He was also awarded
the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts while with 593. Bill did a tour on the USS Guadalcanal and Annapolis where he retired in 1981. After retiring, he owned and operated two service stations until diagnosed with cancer in 1989. Bill passed away in 1995 after a long battle.
He was a member of the VFW, FRA and DAV where he did volunteer work at the Perry Point Veterans Hospital. He left behind Margaret, his wife of 38 years, three daughters, three grandchildren, four brothers and a sister. He is missed! Margaret is in touch with members of Iron Butterfly.
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