Marine Aviation Leadership
VMX-1 Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major Frank M. Gratacos Jr.

Sergeant Major Frank M. Gratacos Jr. enlisted in the Marine Corps in1993. He later graduated from Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon, NH and reported to Boot Camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, SC in July of 1994. He graduated as a Honorman and was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Private First Class.

Following Recruit training he attended Marine Combat Training and his Military Occupational Training at Camp Lejeune, NC. His first assignment to the Fleet Marine Force was with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, Okinawa Japan in February of 1995. His next unit would be with the Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 “Sand Sharks” of Yuma, AZ. During 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, AZ as well as Marine Wing Support Group 37.

Sergeant Major Gratacos reported to Drill Instructor School in September of 1998. Serving in a myriad of billets at 1st Recruit Training Battalion, 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. Serving with 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 November of 2003 Sergeant Major Gratacos joined 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. While a member of the “Highlanders”, he deployed in support of OIF 2-1 and then again for OIF 4-6. It was in October of 2005 that he was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Sergeant Major Gratacos then reported to Marine Air Control Squadron 1 (MACS-1), Detachment Alpha, Camp Pendleton, CA. 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 in the Fall of 2008.

In March 2009, Sergeant Major Gratacos reported to 1st Tank Battalion where he was assigned as the Company First Sergeant of Company A. Company A deployed in support of OEF 10-1 as a “Route Clearance” Company with 3d Combat Engineer Battalion. Upon return from deployment Sergeant Major Gratacos was reassigned to Headquarters and Service Company. During March of 2012 Sergeant Major Gratacos transferred to Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry (West), Camp Pendleton, CA.

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. Shortly after 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 HI to serve as the MAG-24 Sergeant Major. Arriving to MCAS Yuma, AZ in July of 2021, he reported for duty to assume his current assignment as the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) Sergeant Major.

Sergeant Major Gratacos' decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, 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.

Marine Aviation