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Marine Air Control Group 18


Marine Air Control Group 18


MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan

Sergeant Major
SgtMaj Michael Cato



Sergeant Major Michael Cato was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in April of 1994 and completed recruit training at MCRD San Diego, CA as the Honor Graduate and was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class. Following recruit training; he attended his Military Occupational School (MOS) at the School of Infantry West, Camp Pendleton, CA. where he was assigned the MOS 0313, Light Armored Vehicle Crewman.

In October of 1994, Private First Class Cato reported to Alpha Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.  Lance Corporal Cato deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in support of Operations Deny Flight, Joint Endeavor, and Provide Promise. He also participated in Operation Agile Lion, in Stuttgart, Germany.   

In January of 1998, Sergeant Cato reported into the School of Infantry West and was assigned to Light Armored Vehicle Crewmen’s Course.  He served in the billets of: Instructor and Staff Non Commissioned Officer in Charge and obtained a secondary MOS of 0341 Mortarman.

In September of 2001 Sergeant Cato received orders to MCRD San Diego, CA. for Drill Instructor duty. He served in the following billets: Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor, and Chief Drill Instructor for Lima Co., 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. As a 0369, Staff Sergeant Cato completed Infantry Unit Leaders Course, prior to his assignment to V34.

In January of 2005, Staff Sergeant Cato was transferred to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, where he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in support of OIF III with India Co, as the Platoon Sergeant for 1st Platoon. Upon return, he assumed the duties of Co GySgt.

In January of 2006, he received orders to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines where he completed the Navigators course in Coronado, CA. Attended Advance Course 3-06 and graduated as the Gung Ho recipient then deployed in July 2006 to Okinawa, Japan in support of the 31st MEU while holding the following billets: Weapons Platoon Sergeant, Trailer Platoon Commander, and Co GySgt.  

In February of 2007, Gunnery Sergeant Cato received orders to Annapolis, Maryland and reported to the United States Naval Academy for duty and served as the 10th Company Senior Enlisted Advisor and the Leatherneck Senior Enlisted Advisor, where he trained midshipmen for Naval service and screened a competitive cohort for Marine Corps Officer selection.

In September of 2009, First Sergeant Cato reported to 1st Battalion, 1st Marines as the Bravo Company 1stSgt, where he deployed with the 13th MEU.  Upon return to CONUS he received orders to CLR-17, HQ Co., 1st MLG. 

From January 2012 to February 2014, First Sergeant Cato was the Headquarters Company 1stSgt, for HQ Reg, 1st MLG, aboard Camp Pendleton CA. In 2013 he graduated from SEPME class 3-13 in Quantico, VA.  

In February of 2014, he was assigned as the Redeployment, Retrograde in support of Reset and Reconstitution Operations Group (R4OG) Sergeant Major, OEF Rotation 5, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, attached to MARCENT. The unit’s mission, retrograde all the Marine Corps equipment out of Afghanistan.

In April of 2015, he reported to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265), where he served as the Aviation Combat Element, Sergeant Major, for the 31st MEU from May 2015 to May 2016. After completing the 31st MEU, the squadron rejoined Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st MAW for follow on tasking.

In November of 2016, he received orders to Combat Assault Battalion, 3d Marine Division. He completed SEJPME II and executed a Battalion sized Korean Marine Exchange Program. Then leaned heavily into the deactivation of the Battalion. 

In April of 2018, he assumed his current assignment as the Marine Air Control Group 18, Sergeant Major. In December of 2019, He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree Cum Lade from Liberty University in Interdisciplinary Studies. In January of 2020, he graduated the Keystone CSEL Course located in Washington D.C. at the National Defense University.  


Sergeant Major Cato’s personal decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal (w/ 1 gold star), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (w/ 2 gold stars), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (w/ 3 gold stars), and the Combat Action Ribbon.