William A. MacKinlay

  • Colonel
  • Vietnam


William A. MacKinlay was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts to Mr. & Mrs. William O. MacKinlay. Bill graduated from Pawtucket West Senior High School in 1965, and he was a member of the Rhode Island Honor Society. He entered the University of Rhode Island with the Class of 1969. He participated in the URI Army ROTC program, and he was a member of the Kingston Rangers. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of the Quartermaster Corps. Following initial officer training, 1LT MacKinlay deployed to Vietnam in 1971 and was assigned to the Military Assistance Command, Advisory Team 42, Binh Dinh Province.

On 2 June 1972, 1LT MacKinlay distinguished himself by heroic actions when the Binh Dinh Province Headquarters Tactical Operations Center was destroyed by a satchel charge. Upon arrival, 1LT MacKinlay immediately began digging into and clearing an opening in the debris. He then entered the burning structure and carried out two Republic of Korea liaison officers and six critically wounded Vietnamese. 1LT MacKinlay reentered the burning bunker again and extinguished the fire and recovered the encryption device. For Heroism in connection with ground operations against a hostile force, 1LT MacKinlay was awarded the Bronze Medal with “V” Device for Valor.

As a Major and Lieutenant Colonel, Bill MacKinlay served at various command and staff levels within the United States, Japan and South Korea. He was assigned as the Deputy Director of Procurement Project Manager for the Army Tank Program. He was later assigned as the Lead Administrative Contracting Officer at the Detroit Army Tank Plant where he concurrently oversaw production of the Abrams and M-60 tanks. LTC MacKinlay served as a Battalion Commander, 2d Supply and Transport Battalion, 2d Infantry Division, South Korea.

In July 1991, LTC MacKinlay was assigned to the Defense Contract Management Command, Alexandria, Virginia as the Chief, Program Support. Colonel MacKinlay continued to provide outstanding leadership while managing an organization of senior program analysts and engineers, providing program management support to the Service Program Managers and independent program analysis at the highest levels of the Department of Defense. This assignment was followed by two years of command as the Commander, Defense Contract Management Area Office in Chicago, Illinois.

Later, he was assigned as the Commander, Defense Contract Management Command District East in Boston, Massachusetts for three years. In this General Officer designate position, Colonel MacKinlay provided outstanding leadership in leading his 43 unit command of over 7,000 Department of Defense civilians and 400 active duty military officers and NCO’s from all services.

Bill MacKinlay is a graduate of the Joint Staff College, Army Command and Staff College and the Army War College. He was inducted into the U.S. Army Quartermaster Hall of Fame in 2013. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards), Bronze Star (2 awards), Bronze Star with V and Army Commendation Medal (5 awards).

Colonel MacKinlay left a lasting contribution to the United States Army and the Department of Defense in new ways of doing Acquisition Management to support the soldiers serving in all branches of the Defense Department. Colonel William A. MacKinlay retired from the United States Army in 1998 and was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service to our country.

Colonel MacKinlay’s military and civilian work in Logistics and Procurement has also been utilized by the College of Business Administration at URI. He was invited to become a member of the College’s newly formed Board of Advisors in 2006 when the College initiated the Supply Chain Management Major. Along with other industry leaders, he continues to provide guidance on the program. He has also been a guest lecturer for program courses and has taught a course in Supplier Relationship Management at URI.

In 2008, Colonel Bill MacKinlay volunteered to become a board member of the University of Rhode Island ROTC Alumni Chapter, and in 2011, he was selected as President. Bill was instrumental in initiating many new programs. He has also overseen the growth in financial support from URI ROTC alumni and friends which has allowed the ROTC Alumni Chapter to provide funds to the Military Science Department to support cadet activities. Bill and his wife Shirley reside in Massachusetts. Colonel Bill MacKinlay is a member of the URI Alumni Association and one of the strongest supporters of the University of Rhode Island ROTC Alumni Chapter and the URI Foundation.