Lead with the best version of yourself.

S3,Ep2: Command Sergeant Major Bill Thetford- The Art of Leading Up

CSM (ret) Bill Thetford shares lessons from his career that spanned almost four decades in the United States Army. Bill shares his thoughts on the role of the noncommissioned officer (NCO) in the military and shares advice on how NCOs can lead up in their organizations. He also explains the importance of leaders removing barriers, the art of giving someone bad news, and methods for how we can overcome knowledge gaps when faced with uncertainty.

Click here to listen to the episode


About Bill

CSM (Ret) Bill Thetford joined the CACI – Wexford team in July 2019 and is based in the Fayetteville – Ft. Bragg, NC area.  A veteran with over 35 years of Special Operations experience, holding virtually every NCO leadership position available, including Command Sergeant Major.

At the nominative level, he played an important role as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for the Joint Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg, NC, the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, FL, and in his final military assignment, as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of U.S. Central Command, also at MacDill.

Mr. Thetford’s accomplishments are numerous.  He recently served on the Advisory Panel to the SOCOM CG during the Comprehensive Review of SOF Culture and Ethics to strengthen our values and reinforce trust in our Troops.  Also, he worked alongside researchers, senior military and government officials, providing guidance and insight towards the integration of women into special operations combat career fields.  Mr. Thetford enhanced the National Defense University’s Keystone Course as a returning Senior Fellow providing professional development to over 300 future joint force leaders.

Mr. Thetford has extensive combat experience and deployed multiple times throughout his career.  He participated in Operations Urgent Fury, Grenada; Gothic Serpent-Task Force Ranger, Mogadishu, Somalia, and Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, and Enduring Freedom in the Middle East. He supported peacekeeping operations in Bosnia as well.

During his career, Mr. Thetford attended and graduated from military and civilian schools including the Keystone Course, Special Forces Qualification Course, and the Ranger Leadership Course.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from Campbell University and a Master’s Degree in Business and Organizational Security Management from Webster University.

Mr. Thetford earned significant awards to include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star Medal with V-Device.  In 2018, he earned the VFW’s prestigious Armed Forces Award, recognizing his substantial contributions to the nation throughout his career. (Bio Courtesy of GSOF.org)




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