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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

The Gainey Family: A Proud Tradition of Serving America’s National Interests

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on August 25, 2019; Updated on September 3, 2022

[Author's Note: Lucy Hall Gainey, the matriarch of the Gainey family, passed on August 20, 2021. As a tribute to Ms. Gainey's lifetime of outstanding achievement and positive impact on American society, I am republishing this article. As you will see below, the Gainey family is one of America's most prestigious and patriotic families. Enjoy the article.]

The late William Jewell Gainey, Sr. and his wife, Lucy Hall Gainey, are not considered celebrity figures in an African-American world that glamorizes rappers, athletes, and entertainers. Within the halls of the Pentagon and international business circles, world leaders know exactly who they are. This low-key but proud couple from Columbia, South Carolina has produced a positive and lasting impact with respect to America’s national security, cultural values, and business success.

William and Lucy Gainey lived a military life. William was a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army and a Vietnam War veteran. He also owned a catering business and restaurant. Lucy, a Huntsville, Alabama native who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, attended Spelman College in Atlanta and graduated from Columbia College in South Carolina. In high school, Lucy was valedictorian of her graduating class.

William and Lucy had five children -- William J. Gainey, Jr., Sean A. Gainey, Gainey, Nichelle Gainey, Andrew C. Gainey, and Lisa Dyanne Gainey. They groomed all five children to become respected leaders in the international arena. They encouraged their children to pursue and achieve the American Dream through education and hard work. They instilled high moral character and decency in each one of them. They also taught their children how to become responsible, serious, tough, and resilient adults who stand up for what is right and just. Two of these children -- Sean and Andrew -- are generals in the U.S. Army.

William and Lucy Gainey represent an impressive case study in parenting talented and gifted children for greatness in a global society. The fact that they are African-American makes me extremely proud of them.

William J. Gainey, Jr.

William J. Gainey, Jr. is a principal owner of JW Affinity, a premier information technology based in Marietta, Georgia. William, Jr. is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of Information Technology (IT) and Program Management experience. His core competencies cover operations, infrastructure, and IT lifecycle management, with a demonstrated track record of being on time, within budget, and delivering results that exceed customer expectations.

William, Jr. attended Alabama A&M University on a football scholarship. He was an honor student and All-America football player. Upon graduation, William, Jr. became a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was a top ROTC cadet in college. During William, Jr.'s military career, he was promoted to the rank of captain. He retired from the Army to pursue a career as an entrepreneur.

In business, William, Jr. has earned a reputation as a creative problem solver who is adept at implementing proactive and cost-effective solutions. Whether working as an independent direct report or as a member of a team, his history of establishing and maintaining positive relationships with customers, managers, subordinates and peers has provided longevity in a sometimes-volatile IT marketplace.  

William Jr.’s passion originates from his success in the high-tech sector, running company-wide operational functions and leading large-scale projects, from inception to successful completion, while making/executing sound strategic decisions. As a co-owner of JW Affinity (along with his business partner Justina Casias), William, Jr. provides unparalleled IT expertise to a diverse portfolio of clients.  

Sean A. Gainey

Sean A. Gainey is a Major General in the U.S. Army. Gen. Gainey serves as the Director of the Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office/Direct of Fires, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army in Washington, D.C.

Prior to his current assignment, Gen. Gainey served as deputy director of Force Protection, J-8, at the Joint Staff in Washington. Before this assignment, Gen. Gainey was this commanding general of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Shafter. He also served at Fort Bragg as the commander of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Gen. Sean A. Gainey graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1990 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery. His professional military education includes the Air Defense Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Command and General Staff College (CGSC), and Senior Service College at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security. He holds a Bachelors in Business Administration, an MS in Personnel Management from Central Michigan University and an Master’s of Science Degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security.

Gen. Gainey's first duty assignment was in 5th Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, Bamberg, Germany where he served as a Chaparral/Stinger Platoon Leader, Avenger Battery Executive Officer and Assistant Operations Officer.

He was then assigned to 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, Fort Bliss, Texas, where he served as an Assistant Operations Officer and Commander of Charlie Battery. While in command, he deployed his battery to Bahrain in support of Operation Southern Watch. He was then assigned to the Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels, Germany where he served as an Air Defense Artillery Observer Controller and G3 Plans Officer. He was later assigned to 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery where he served as the Battalion Executive Officer and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gen. Gainey then served as the Brigade Operations Officer for 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Gen. Gainey was then assigned to the United States Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Virginia, where he served as the Lieutenant Colonel Assignment Officer and Executive Officer to the Director of Officer Personnel Management Directorate.

He commanded 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery, Kaiserslautern, Germany. While in command, he deployed his battalion in support of Joint Task Force East. Following command, he served as the Chief of Air and Missile Defense Division, United States Army Europe.

Gen. Gainey commanded the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Fort Bragg, NC. During his command, Sean Gainey deployed his brigade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Following this command, he served as the Chief, Global Force Management Division, Joint Staff, J3, Joint Operations Division. General Gainey's previous assignment was as the Deputy Commanding General for the United States Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Gen. Gainey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (w/4 OLCs), Army Commendation Medal (w/3 OLCs), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (w/1 OLC), Air Force Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, and Parachutist Badge.

Nichelle Gainey

Nichelle Gainey is a well-known international businesswoman.  She has an extensive background in electronic media, multimedia platforms, international professional sports, and artificial intelligence and sports biometrics.

Nichelle is the founder, chairman and chief executive office of SilverStone International, LLC, a global sports management and entertainment consulting firm.  SilverStone integrates an unrivaled level of experience, leadership, infrastructure, innovation, and dedication to global sports in multimedia platforms.  

Nichelle was raised in Europe and is fluent in German. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from AA&MU and an advanced degree in chemistry from Florida State University. Nichelle now serves as a trustee at AA&MU, which is one of the largest producers of STEM cell research in the United States.

In 2009, Nichelle was ranked top “20 of Most Influential Business Women in America.”  Nichelle serves as a strategic advisor to the physicians at Comprehensive Orthopaedic Global (COG), which has innovative patents in Sports Biometrics.  She is a former member of the Candidature Board of Directors for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and Paralympics Summer Games.

Nichelle is a former chemistry professor, academic researcher, and pioneer in entrepreneurship for women of color.  Her interdisciplinary skills and multimedia experience have produced dynamic economic value for several Fortune 500 companies.

Andrew C. Gainey

Andrew C. Gainey is a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army. He is the Deputy Commanding General-Operations - 3rd French Division in France, a position Gen. Gainey has held since July 2022.

Prior this his current assignment, Gen. Gainey served as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Army Staff (Student) from February to July 2022 and Deputy Commanding General -Maneuver, 1st Infantry Division, from June 2020 to July 2022.

From June 2019 to June 2020, Gen. Gainey served as the executive officer for the 37th Vice Chief of Staff for the Army. Prior to this assignment, Gen. Gainey was a Senior Military Assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, the Brigade Commander for the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, a Military Assistant in the Immediate Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Battalion Commander for the 1-7 Field Artillery, 2BCT, 1st Infantry Division.

While commanding the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, Gen. Andrew Gainey served in a dual capacity as the commander for 17th FA Bde and the I Corps Fires Support Coordinator. He led the integration of the 17th FA Bde staff with the fire support staff of "America's Corps" formalizing the relationship for the first time. He also led the Brigade and I Corps fire support cell through combined, joint exercises Yama Sakura 69 and 71, Talisman Saber 15 and 17, and Ulchi Freedom Guardian 15 and 16. These exercises were paramount to increasing interoperability with key allies in Australia, Japan, and Korea.

Also, Gen. Gainey oversaw the execution of the Reduced Range Practice Rocket noise test; the first training event in which rockets were fired on Joint-Base Lewis McChord. He also deployed both HIMARS Battalions in support of Central Command operations. Thunderbolt troopers fired over 600 precision munitions, eliminating numerous enemy facilities, vehicles, and equipment

Gen. Gainey graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1992. He graduated from the Marines Corps War College in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in Military Strategic Studies. He also received a Master’s Degree in Adult and Continuing Administration Education from Kansas State University in 2004.

Lisa Dyanne Gainey

Lisa Dyanne Gainey, who died from great cancer on March 1, 2012, was born in Frankfurt, Germany. Lisa was a graduate of Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, South Carolina. She later graduated with a degree in Business Management from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and received a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Webster University. At the time of her passing, Lisa was employed as a Senior Human Resources Manager for The Home Depot Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lisa had a mastery of business and finance. When she gave gifts to family members, it was usually valuable stock certificates in growing businesses. She was a wonderful asset to her entire family.

Lisa is survived by her husband, Charlie J. Eaddy, Jr. and their son, Seth William Eaddy.

On March 1, 2015, exactly three years after Lisa' death, the Gainey family started the Lisa Gainey Eaddy Endowed Scholarship, which is managed by Florida A&M University. The endowment has been added to the FAMU Foundation online scholarship listing and is tax deductible.


The Gainey family’s collective body of achievements in America goes far beyond what I have written in this article. They have always put America first. This family is America’s flagbearer all over the world.

Through dedicated and dignified service to the nation in the military arena and international business world, the Gainey family keeps us safe and serves America's national interests. This family has earned the respect and admiration of a grateful nation.

The Gainey family is filled with genuine America heroes who lead us on the world stage. I salute and thank each member of this family. They are true American patriots.

PHOTO: Brigadier General Andrew C. Gainey (far left), retired Army captain William J. Gainey, Jr. (second from left), the late family matriarch, Lucy Hall Gainey (third from left), Major General Sean. A. Gainey (center), Seth Eaddy (the son of Lisa Dyanne Gainey, deceased), and Nichelle Gainey (right) attended the promotion ceremony for Gen. Sean A. Gainey in the Pentagon’s Flag Room in April of 2019.

PHOTO: The late Lucy Hall Gainey (center), with son William J. Gainey, Jr. (far left), daughter Nichelle Gainey (left), and General Sean A. Gainey (second from right), and Gen. Andrew C. Gainey (right).

PHOTO: Former United States Secretary of State and four-star general Colin Powell (center) introduced Major General Sean A. Gainey (left) at a recent military event.

PHOTO: In August of 2016, Major General Sean Gainey took command of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Shafter in Hawaii.

PHOTO: U.S. Army Brigadier General Andrew C. Gainey, left, and Lt. Col. Jeffery Ramsey, right, share a laugh during security talks with Iraqi police Maj. Gen. Emad Faris, at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq, July 12, 2011. Gainey was commander and Ramsey was a stability transition team chief, both with 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division-Center, and Maj. Gen. Faris was commander of the 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division.

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Kamar Jones
Kamar Jones
Oct 21, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Impressive family to say the least. Being in the military and growing up as a military brat, two generals in the family is the pinnacle of success.

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