Frank M. Gratacos Jr.
Sergeant Major Frank M. Gratacos Jr. graduated from Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon, New Hampshire during June of 1994 lettering in Soccer and Track. He enlisted in the delayed entry program in August of 1993 and went to Boot Camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, South Carolina in July of 1994. He graduated as a Honorman and was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Private First Class.
Following Recruit training he reported for Marine Combat Training at Hotel Company, Camp Geiger, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, graduating in the top 5% of his class. He continued on to the Marine Corps Engineer Schools at Court House Bay, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He received training and graduated as an Electrician and Tactical Generator Operator.
His first assignment to the Fleet Marine Force was with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, Camp Hansen, Okinawa Japan in February of 1995. He participated in Exercise Freedom Banner 95’ and Ulchi Focus Lens 95’ in Pohang , Korea. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in June of 1995.
From the Jungles of Okinawa, Sergeant Major Gratacos would find his next assignment in the deserts of Yuma, Arizona in March of 1996. As a member of Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 “Sand Sharks” he would participate in several Weapons and Tactics Instruction (WTI) evolutions and Kernel Blitz 97’. Throughout this tour Sergeant Major Gratacos was meritoriously promoted to the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant. He was selected as the Noncommissioned Officer of the year for Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona as well as Marine Wing Support Group 37. He re-enlisted for the first time and received orders to Drill Instructor School at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina.
Sergeant Major Gratacos reported to Drill Instructor School, Class 1-99, in September of 1998. He reported to 1st Recruit Training Battalion in January of 1999. During his tour he served as a Drill Instructor, Academics Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor and Series Chief Drill Instructor. He was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant in July of 2000.
After his successful tour at Parris Island, Sergeant Major Gratacos returned to Okinawa, Japan during April of 2002. This time he was assigned to Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base, Camp Butler. He served in the Battalion S-3 as the Battalion Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor and Marksmanship Training liaison.
In route to 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, Sergeant Major Gratacos attended the Utilities Chief Course at Court House Bay, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Upon arrival at Division Headquarters he was assigned to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (1st LAR) in November of 2003. While a member of the “Highlanders”, Sergeant Major Gratacos served as the Engineer Chief, Platoon Sergeant, and H&S Company Gunnery Sergeant. In February of 2004 he deployed in support of OIF 2-1 and then again in September of 2005 for OIF 4-6. It was in October of 2005 that he was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
Shortly after graduating from the Advanced Course in June of 2006, Sergeant Major Gratacos detached from 1st LAR and reported to Marine Air Control Squadron 1 (MACS-1), Detachment Alpha, Camp Pendleton, California. During his tenure there he served as the Remain Behind Element Officer in Charge, detachment SNCOIC and Engineer Chief. He deployed with MACS-1, Det-A twice in support of OIF 6-8 and 7-1. Shortly after returning from Iraq, Sergeant Major Gratacos was selected for First Sergeant and received orders to Twenty-nine Palms, California for duty.
In March 2009, Sergeant Major Gratacos reported to 1st Tank Battalion where he was assigned as the Company First Sergeant of Company A. He participated in exercises Summer Heat, Steel Knight and Gold Eagle during 2009. Sergeant Major Gratacos and Company A deployed in support of OEF 10.1 as a “Route Clearance” Company with 3d Combat Engineer Battalion from April through November of 2010. Upon return from deployment Sergeant Major Gratacos was reassigned to Headquarters and Service Company.
During March of 2012 Sergeant Major Gratacos received orders to Camp Pendleton and was assigned as the Company First Sergeant for Company D, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry (West) Camp Pendleton, California.
Sergeant Major Gratacos was promoted to his current rank in June of 2014. He then executed orders to MCAS Miramar to join the “Sea Elks” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (VMM-166) for duty. August of 2015 brought VMM-166 the designation of being the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and they became Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 Reinforced (VMM-166 REIN). Sergeant Major Gratacos served as the ACE Sergeant Major throughout the 16-1 deployment until their eventual decomposite in October of 2016.
Not long after returning from their successful deployment, SgtMaj Gratacos received and executed orders to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, the “Forerunners”, in February of 2016.
April of 2018 found Sergeant Major Gratacos joining the “Pacific Eagles” of Marine Aircraft Group-24 (MAG-24) at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay Hawaii to serve in his current assignment as the MAG-24 Sergeant Major.
Sergeant Major Gratacos’ decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of fourth award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Silver and Gold Stars in lieu of seventh award, and the Combat Action Ribbon.