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LTC Dennis Gillem

  • LTC Dennis
    USMA'64 USA (Ret) Frontlines Of Freedom, Gr Rpds, MI


Denny graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in June 1964 and was commissioned in the infantry.  After military schooling (airborne and ranger schools), he was assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, CO, where he served with the 5th Infantry Division, met and proposed to his wife, Marilyn, and volunteered for duty in Vietnam. 

He served in combat with the First Infantry Division for a year (6-months as a rifle-platoon leader and 6-months as an aide-de-camp) and returned to marry Marilyn; he then assumed command of an airborne rifle company of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY.  He first visited Michigan when his company deployed to the Detroit Riots in 1967.  Shortly thereafter his division deployed to Vietnam in time for the fighting during the Tet Offensive in 1968.  As a consequence of these two combat tours Denny received the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and 7 US awards for valor.

He was selected for early promotion to major and sent to earn his Master’s degree in political science (international relations) at the University of Texas at El Paso. He subsequently served with the ROTC unit at Stanford University where he earned another MA (in Education) and helped close the ROTC unit.  After serving with a mechanized infantry battalion in Germany, Denny returned to the US to be a war planner for Europe and the Middle East at US Readiness Command in Tampa, Florida.

He served as the head of the Army ROTC unit at the University of Tampa and then was transferred to serve as an Army Advisor to the Michigan National Guard.  Denny and Marilyn fell in love with western Michigan and decided to retire from the Army and settle there.

Since leaving the Army, Denny has worked in sales, leadership, consulting, and academic positions in Michigan. He has taught American Government at Grand Rapids Community College, and Political Science and Management for the University of Phoenix.  He was the founding chair of the 1776 Society of Veterans, a political action committee.  He has served in senior positions in state & national political campaigns and has run for office locally.  Denny is also very active in business networking.

He is the founder and host of Frontlines of Freedom, a weekly, syndicated, military talk-radio show.  The show is highly acclaimed and the largest such show in the nation, broadcasting on 180 radio stations nationwide.  They will celebrate their 12-year anniversary in June 2019.

Denny enjoys reading, spending time with family, and politics.  He is active in his church.  Denny and Marilyn have one son, David, who is a sergeant in the Grand Rapids, MI, Police Department.

Military highlights
Awards received include:
Silver Star (valor)
Distinguished Flying Cross (valor)
Soldiers Medal (Heroism not involving contact with the enemy)
Bronze Star (3 awards for heroism; 2 awards for meritorious service)
Purple Heart (2 awards)
Army Commendation Medal (1 award for heroism; one award for meritorious service)

Combat Infantryman’s Badge
Expert Infantryman’s Badge
Parachutist Wings
Ranger Tab