Gaines Ward

Director, College of Enlisted Military Education

Colonel, USMC

Civilian Education

  • Masters of Public Administration from Troy University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia


Second Lieutenant Ward was commissioned in 1991 via the Officer Candidates Course. Following The Basic School, undergraduate flight training in Pensacola, FL and Replacement Aircrew training, he was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 29 and attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162. During this tour, First Lieutenant Ward was promoted to Captain and participated in two Landing Force 6th Fleet Deployments (1996 & 1998) as a part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) where he flew in support Operations Decisive Endeavor in the Adriatic/Bosnia Theater and Assured Response in Monrovia, Liberia. Between the MEU deployments he additionally deployed in support of UNITAS 1997.

Captain Ward attended Amphibious Warfare School for resident Professional Military Education in Academic Year 1999. Captain Ward was then assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (Training) 164, MAG 39 at Camp Pendleton, CA where he was promoted to the grade of major. In 2002, Major Ward was assigned to HQMC I&L’s Land Use and Real Property Division in 2002, where he served as a facilities planner.

In 2004, Major Ward was assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265, MAG 36 on Okinawa, Japan. He served as the Director of Safety and Standardization and then transitioned to be the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. He deployed with the squadron as part of the 31st MEU to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Following his promotion, Lieutenant Colonel Ward was transferred to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing headquarters where he served as the Wing Director of Safety and Standardization.

In 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Ward returned to HQMC and served as the Aviation Safety Chief for Safety Division, HQMC. In 2011 he assumed duties of Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico.

Colonel Ward was promoted to his current grade on his subsequent assignment to Marine Corps Installations Pacific staff where he served multiple roles including ACS G-7 and Deputy Commander. In 2015, he transferred to M&RA and served as the Manpower Programs and Plans Officer before to transferring to Training and Education Command’s MAGTF Training and Education Standards Division in 2018. In 2019 he transferred to Education Command to assume the position of Director, College of Enlisted Military Education, Marine Corps University, Quantico, VA.

Marine Corps University