Marine Aviation Leadership
Marine Aviation leaders page
VMX-1 Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major Larry B. Buenafe

Sergeant Major Buenafe enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 1991 and attended Recruit Training in January 1992 at MCRD, San Diego, California (CA). In April 1992, PFC Buenafe reported to MCT and ITB, SOI (West) Camp Pendleton (CamPen), CA and attained the MOS 0331 Machine Gunner.

In 1992 PFC Buenafe reported to Weapons Company, 1st Battalion (Bn) 5th Marines (Mar) and served as a driver, gunner and machinegun squad leader. In 1993 he deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Special Operation Capable (SOC) to the western pacific. Back in CONUS, he participated in a JTF-6 mission in support of the U.S. Border patrol’s drug interdiction mission and Operation Wild-Fire missions in Idaho and Washington State. In 1995 Cpl Buenafe deployed to Okinawa, Japan and participated in training at Mt. Fuji, Japan and South Korea.  In July 1996, Sgt Buenafe reported to the SNCO Academy, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii, as part of the permanent staff.

In January 1997, Sgt Buenafe received orders to 2d Bn 3d Mar, with Fox and Weapons Company at MCB Hawaii.  He served as a squad leader, section leader and platoon Sergeant.  He completed two deployments to Okinawa, Japan as part the Unit Deployment Program and deployed to Camp Fuji and South Korea. In Okinawa he worked at the Camp Hansen rifle range as the line SNCO and the Primary Marksmanship Instructor.

In December 1999, Sgt Buenafe requested and received orders to Drill Instructor School, MCRD San Diego, CA. Upon completion, he was assigned to Alpha Company 1st Recruit Training Bn and Receiving Barracks where he served as a Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor. 

In 2003, SSgt Buenafe received orders to 1st Bn 4th Mar, with Bravo and Weapons Company.  He served as Infantry Plt Sgt, Weapons Plt Sgt, Combined Anti-Armor Team Plt Sgt and the Company GySgt.  In 2003 he participated in OIF-1, in Al Hila and Babil Province Iraq. In 2004 he deployed with the 11th MEU (SOC) and participated in support of OIF 2-3 in the battle of An Najaf Cemetery and Operation Phantom Fury in support of the Battle of Fallujah.

In 2006 GySgt Buenafe deployed with the 11th MEU (SOC) in support of OIF 6-7.  In December 2006 received orders to Marine Combat Instructor Course and upon completion he reported to Marine Combat Training Bn as the Company GySgt for Golf Company and completed 19 cycles.

In December 2007 he was selected to 1stSgt and in April 2008, he reported to 3d Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn at Twentynine Palms, CA.  In 2009 he participated in support of OIF 9.2 in Al Anbar and Ninawa Province Iraq. In 2010-11 he deployed in support of OEF 10.2-10.3. In the Southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  In October 2011 he reported to the School Of Infantry (West), Infantry Training Battalion as the 1stSgt for Alpha Company, where he completed 10 cycles. 

In December 2012, 1stSgt Buenafe was selected to SgtMaj and in April 2013, was promoted to his current rank and received orders to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 (HMLA-369), MAG 39, 3d MAW, CamPen, CA. 

In November 2013 to May 2014, SgtMaj Buenafe deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF 13.2-14.1 at Camp Bastion Afghanistan. In 2015, HMLA-369 was award the MCAA Squadron of the Year Award. 

In July 2015, SgtMaj Buenafe reported to 6th Engineer Support Battalion, serving as the Inspector Instructor SgtMaj for the largest operational Battalion in the Marine Corps, consisting of 10 sites in 9 states across CONUS.

In April 2017 SgtMaj Buenafe checked into Marine Air Control Group 38, Miramar, CA as the Group SgtMaj.

In June 2019 SgtMaj Buenafe assumed his current role as the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) SgtMaj.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (3rd award), The Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3rd award), The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2nd award), Good Conduct Medal (7th award), The Combat Action Ribbon and many other unit and service awards.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science.

Marine Aviation