By Peg Bos, Clovis Museum
Major General Jon Gallinetti’s life is representative of the Marine Corps motto: “Semper Fidelis” (always faithful, always loyal). He served his country faithfully while displaying a patriotism that continues to inspire all who know him. He remains dedicated to his family and a town called Clovis.
In 1912 Jon’s grandparents (Joseph and Maria) arrived in the United States from Polla, Italy. They settled in West Mineral, Kansas. Jon’s father Guy (1913-2009) was born the following year. Guy joined the Army in 1942 and served with the First Armored Division. He fought in the battle fields of North Africa and at the historic beach battle of Anzio. He arrived in Clovis in 1947 and established a trucking business and a poultry farm.
It is believed that Jon is the highest ranking military officer to graduate from Clovis High School and CSU, Fresno. He graduated from Clovis High School in 1967 (1920s school building that is now occupied by the San Joaquin Law College). His senior comments stated: “Student Body Chief Justice, Speaker of House of Reps, Forensic, A. Cappella, Varsity track and Cross Country, Y.A.F.”
Jon was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps upon graduating from CSU, Fresno in 1972. We are quoting an article published by the Training & Simulation Journal, February/March 2005, titled “A Top Gun General.”
“Maj. Gen. Jon Gallinetti is a Top Gun aviator with an extensive flying career, and he also brings to Joint Forces Command his recent experience overseeing joint wartime operations.
Gallinetti, who received his U.S. Marine Corps commission in 1972, was promoted to his present rank in January 2004. From September 2003 until April 2004, he was deployed in Iraq as chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Seven.
He has accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours in a wide range of helicopters and jets, including the A-4, AV-8B and F/A-18, and has attended the Naval Fighter Weapons School’s Top Gun Adversary Course.
Between June 2002 and June 2004, he commanded Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area and was commanding general of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
Among several tours outside the Fleet Marine Force, he was Air Launched Weapons Project Officer and F/A-18 Project Pilot at the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, Calif. He also stood up the USACOM J9 Directorate responsible for Joint Experimentation.
Gallinetti assumed his current assignment as commander, Joint Warfighting Center, and Director, Joint Training J7, at Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, VA, on July 8.
Jon’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one silver star.
Jon remembers that his father Guy attended every promotion ceremony. Guy would approach Jon, give a crisp military salute and kiss him on the cheek.
Jon married the former Janice Liles of Fresno (three children, Matt, Jackie and Tom). He was named “Clovis Living Legend” by the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Historical Society in 2004 and inducted the same year into the Clovis Hall of Fame that is awarded by the Clovis Chamber of Commerce.
Jon and his family are an important part of our rich heritage.