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Golden Key Group Honors Sergeant Major Gary P. Fortunato

He Leaves Behind a Legacy that will Forever Stand Tall

Fort Knox, KY – June 21, 2022


Today Golden Key Group (GKG), a professional services firm providing workforce optimization solutions, helped honor the late Sergeant Major (SGM) Gary P. Fortunato. To celebrate his decades of service to the U.S. Army Cadet Command, the Rappel Tower – a rope climbing structure used every summer for Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox– has been named after SGM Fortunato. GKG’s CEO, Gretchen McCracken, was instrumental in recommending SGM Fortunato for this well-deserved tribute.


SGM Fortunato was the tip of spear in the Army’s decision to hire veterans for Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) positions across the country. In 1997, after retiring from Active Duty, he was selected as one of the original and only senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of the Rand Feasibility Study, whose mission was to determine whether veterans (as opposed to active-duty officers) could effectively serve as Military Science Instructors. The study was deemed successful, and SGM Fortunato went on to serve 23 years as an Operations Specialist and Military Science Instructor at Providence College in Rhode Island. 


GKG has supported the U.S. Army Cadet Command with the ROTC program since 2018. SGM Fortunato was one of GKG’s instructors. 


“Sergeant Major Fortunato was a trailblazer who left an incredible legacy not only on our program, but the U.S. Army Cadet Command as a whole,” said Gretchen McCracken, GKG’s CEO. “He paved the way for veterans to serve as Military Science Instructors and spearheaded efforts to grow the world-class ROTC program we have today.”


On top of SGM Fortunato’s duties as a classroom instructor, he served on multiple committees in support of the U.S. Army Cadet Command Summer Cadet Training at Fort Knox, KY. In July of 2021, he was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.


“It was an honor to work with SGM Fortunato when I was a Reginal Manager for GKG’s ROTC program. There are some special people you cross paths with that you never forget, he is one for me,” said Bill Lukaskiewicz, GKG’s Director of Army Programs. “SGM Fortunato always led by example ensuring cadets got the tactical training and mentoring they needed to compliment learning inside the classroom. He ran the Rappel Tower at summer training for over a decade, instilling confidence in every Cadet and it’s an honor to see his name on the tower today.”


SGM Fortunato started his military journey when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967. After his tour in Vietnam, he went on to serve another 30 years and was decorated with the Legion of Merit Bronze Star with V Device, The Order of Saint Maurice, and many other awards.


GKG, headquartered in Reston, VA, has an office in Vine Grove, KY. Employees in GKG’s KY office support the U.S. Army Cadet Command contract. 

GKG's Rob Wright attends the event.JPG

GKG's Robert Wright at the event

Rappel Tower in Background.JPG

Picture of SGM Fortunato with Rappel Towel in background.


Since 2002, Golden Key Group has served more than 50 federal departments and agencies, helping customers solve their strategic, operational, and organizational challenges. GKG is Redefining Workforce Optimization™ by integrating human capital, technology, and policy design across the lifecycle of work.


Contact: Lynsee Gibbons  | 

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