Colonel (ret) Gerald E. York joined the US Army through the ROTC program and reported for duty on November 7, 1969, to Fort Knox, KY. He served in Vietnam, Korea and various posts in the US and frequent duty overseas. He attended the following US Army Schools: Armor School, Intelligence Research Officer Course, Vietnamese Language School, Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, Area Intelligence Officer Course, Airborne School and Command and General Staff College. He served as a Phoenix coordinator and Deputy District Advisor in Loc Ninh District, Binh Long Province, Vietnam; as an Intelligence Officer in the G2, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, NC; as an Intelligence Collector in various locations CONUS and OCONUS; as a Base Commander for the Defense Intelligence Agency in California and Korea; and final assignment as Chief of Operations, Defense HUMINT Service, Defense Intelligence Agency, where he oversaw over 1600 personnel in 198 countries. He retired on December 1, 2000 from this assignment after 31 years of active service.
His awards include the Parachute Badge, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (3rd award), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2nd award), Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After retirement, York was president of a company supporting elements through training that he served with during his 31 years on active duty. He continues to work part time managing his own company which provides support to the Department of Defense.
Since 2005, he has been the Chairman of the Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation. In this position he has been involved in saving the original building Sgt. Alvin C. York constructed in the mid-1920s from being demolished and has been working on a capital campaign to stabilize and renovate the building. Over $2.5M has been raised and spent in this effort so far. The building has been stabilized and once restored, it will become the Sgt. York Center for Peace and Valor, and it will provide opportunities to youth and veterans as well as a center to train educators on the Medal of Honor values. Like its founder, Sgt. Alvin C. York, The Center for Peace and Valor will serve to promote the qualities of courage, sacrifice, patriotism, and peace, through increased awareness, education, behavior and example.
The Foundation sponsors numerous projects providing educational support and recognition to young people and veterans throughout the year. This includes a three-day Veterans Day program with WWI vintage planes and dozens of re-enactors. The Foundation also assists the Tennessee Park Service in managing the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historical Park.
For the past year, he has been a Special Advisor to the Congressionally appointed WWI Centennial Commission, doing interviews and participating in several events domestically and overseas.