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Col. Will Gunn

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Information about Col. Will Gunn

Profile image of Col. Will Gunn

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Military Officer
Defense Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
Just do it.

Birthplace

Born:
12/14/1958
Birth Location:
Birmingham, Alabama

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Military Officer
Defense Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
Just do it.

Birthplace

Born:
12/14/1958
Birth Location:
Birmingham
See how Col. Will Gunn is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

U.S. Air Force Colonel Will A. Gunn was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1959. Gunn graduated with military honors with his B.S. degree in management from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. He went on to attend Harvard Law School where he was elected president of the Harvard Law School Legal Aid Bureau and graduated cum laude with his J.D. degree in 1986. Gunn also earned his LL.M. degree in environmental law from the George Washington University School of Law. His military education included graduating from the Air Command and Staff College in 1993; the Air War College in 1999; and, Industrial College of the Armed Forces with his M.S. degree in national resource strategy in 2002.

In 1990, Gunn was appointed as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of Cabinet Affairs under President George H.W. Bush. In 2003, Gunn was named the first ever Chief Defense Counsel in the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions. In that position, he supervised all defense activities for detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison camp selected for trial before military commissions. This was the first proceedings of this to be conducted by the United States in over sixty years. Gunn retired from the military in 2005 after more than twenty years of service and was named president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington where he led one of the largest affiliates of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In 2008, he founded the Gunn Law Firm to provide local representation to military members and veterans in a range of administrative matters. Returning to government in 2009, Gunn was appointed General Counsel in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. He has published articles in the Ohio Northern Law Review and the Air Force Law Review.Gunn served as chairman of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Youth at Risk. In addition, he served on the boards of Christian Service Charities and the Air Force Academy Way of Life Alumni Group.

Gunn has also received numerous awards and honors including the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau’s Outstanding Alumni Award, the Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the American Bar Association’s Outstanding Career Military Lawyer Award. In 2002, he was elected to the National Bar Association’s Military Law Section Hall of Fame. Gunn’s military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Colonel Will A. Gunn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 21, 2013.

See how Col. Will Gunn is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Will Gunn's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Will Gunn lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Will Gunn describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about the significance of Lowndes County as the Black Belt of Alabama and for the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his maternal grandparents' jobs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his mother's growing up in Birmingham, Alabama and her career in social services
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his family's move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1962
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Will Gunn describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about his father's growing up in Opelika, Alabama, his education at Miles College, and his profession as a teacher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Will Gunn describes how his parents met, married and moved the family to Fort Lauderdale
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Will Gunn describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Will Gunn describes his family's road trip the summer of 1967, and his inspiration to become a lawyer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Will Gunn talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Will Gunn describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his childhood home and neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about going to Dania Beach, Florida as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Will Gunn describes his experience in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his family's involvement in Greater New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about why he aspired to become a lawyer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his interests as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Will Gunn recalls the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Will Gunn describes his experience in middle school in Davie, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his height and his interest in basketball
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes his experience playing basketball in high school, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Will Gunn describes his experience playing basketball in high school, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Will Gunn describes his academic performance and extracurricular activities in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Will Gunn recalls following the Watergate hearings on TV and his desire to become a lawyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his interest in applying to the ROTC programs in college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to attend the Air Force Academy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to attend the Air Force Academy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes his experience at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about playing Flicker Ball at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to become an Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG)
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about various career paths after training at the U.S. Air Force Academy training
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his instructors, General Malham Wakin and Captain Curtis Martin at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about academics at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about playing basketball at the U.S. Air Force Academy and becoming class president
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about the U.S Air Force Academy's football and basketball teams
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Will Gunn talks about getting into Harvard Law School on the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about his first assignment in the Minority Affairs Office at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his assignment at Hanscom Air Force Base and getting into Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about meeting his wife at Hanscom Air Force Base and getting married in 1982
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his first impression of Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about the people who inspired him to apply to Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Will Gunn describes his experience and academics at Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Will Gunn talks about the teachers who influenced him at Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at Harvard Law School and his involvement in public service, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at Harvard Law School and his involvement in public service, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his philosophy on public service
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Will Gunn talks about his involvement with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his philosophy in practicing law
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Will Gunn reflects upon the history of race and law in the U.S. Armed Services
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Will Gunn describes his experience in the JAG Corps at Mather Air Force Base
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his responsibilities as Area Defense Counselor and as a Circuit Defense Counsel
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about being selected as a White House Fellow in 1990
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about his experience as a White House Fellow
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about Clarence Thomas' controversial confirmation hearings as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States