Command Sergeant Major William F. Thetford entered the United States Army in 1981 and attended One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was trained as an Infantryman.
Upon completion of his initial training as an Infantryman, CSM Thetford was assigned to Company B, 2d Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington, where he served as a Rifleman, Fire Team Leader and Squad Leader. In 1986, CSM Thetford served with the Mountain Ranger Camp as a Mountaineering Instructor and Platoon Small Group Leader.
CSM Thetford assessed for a Special Mission Unit in 1990. He served as a Team Member, Team Sergeant, Troop Sergeant Major, Operations Sergeant Major, Operator Training Course Sergeant Major, Squadron Command Sergeant Major and Unit Command Sergeant Major. In September 2011, he became the Command Sergeant Major of the Joint Special Operations Command. He served in this position until October 2014 at which time he became the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, FL. Currently he serves as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, FL.
CSM Thetford has deployed multiple times throughout his career, supporting Operation Urgent Fury-Grenada, UNOSOM II-Task Force Ranger, Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. He has also participated in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.
CSM Thetford has completed the following significant military courses: Special Forces Qualification Course, Ranger Course, Jumpmaster Course, Pathfinder Course, Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course, Special Forces Combat Diver Supervisor Course, United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Senior Leaders Force Management Course, Keystone Course, and the Combined/Joint Force Special Operations Component Commanders Course.
CSM Thetford’s significant awards and decorations include the following: Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with V-Device and 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge Second Award, Military Freefall Master Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Combat Diver’s Supervisor Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and Australian Parachutist Badge.
CSM Thetford holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Science from Campbell University and a Master’s of Corporate Security from Webster University.