Colonel Rauenhorst enlisted through the Delayed Entry Program in 1983 and completed recruit training at MCRD San Diego in August 1984. After completion of motor transportation mechanics school at Camp Johnson in February 1985, he joined RS Mankato, MN and served as a recruiter’s aide. In September 1985, he reported to MWSS-471 in Minneapolis, MN as an active reservist and attended Mankato State University. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal, and upon graduation from college he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in June 1989 through the Platoon Leaders Course.
He reported to The Basic School in September 1989. After graduation from The Basic School in April 1990, he completed the Infantry Officer’s Course and reported to NAS Pensacola in September 1990 for flight school. He was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1992 at NAS Chase Field, Beeville, TX.
First Lieutenant Rauenhorst completed F/A-18 transition training at NAS Cecil Field with VFA-106 in December 1993 and reported to VMFA-312 at MCAS Beaufort, SC where he served as CMCC Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, and Assistant Aviation Maintenance Officer. During this tour he embarked with the “Checkerboards” onboard USS ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) for two Mediterranean cruises as part of Carrier Air Wings EIGHT and THREE. While serving with the “Checkerboards,” he graduated from the Marine Corps Division Tactics and Weapons and Tactics Instructors courses and participated in Operations DENY FLIGHT, DELIBERATE FORCE, DELIBERATE GUARD, and SOUTHERN WATCH.
In November of 1997, Captain Rauenhorst was reassigned to 75 SQN, Royal Australian Air Force, at Tindal, Australia for duty as USMC exchange F/A-18 pilot. While at 75 SQN, he graduated from the Australian Aviation Safety Officers course and served the Squadron Aviation Safety Officer and B-Flight Commander.
He was then reassigned to Doctrine Division, Marine Corps Combat and Development Command, Quantico, VA, as an action officer for aviation publications from January to August 2000. Major Rauenhorst attended Marine Corps Command and Staff College and received a Master’s degree in Military Studies. Upon graduation from Command and Staff College in June 2001, he was reassigned to U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE.
While serving at USSTRATCOM, he was assigned to the J-3/4 Airborne Division as an Airborne Operations Officer and Airborne Launch Control Systems Officer as a battle staff member onboard the command and control platform, E-6B Looking Glass.
Major Rauenhorst received orders to VFA-106 for refresher training in June 2003. Upon completion, he reported in December 2003 to MAG-31 where he served as the Current Operations Officer. In May 2004 he reported to VMFA-115 and served as the Aircraft Maintenance, Operations, and Executive Officer. While embarked with the “Silver Eagles” onboard USS TRUMAN (CVN-75) as part of Carrier Air Wing THREE, Lieutenant Colonel Rauenhorst participated in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, and redeployed with VMFA-115 in support of a six-month Unit Deployment Program to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in July 2006. In March 2007 he transferred to MAG-31 as the MAG Training Officer Cell OIC, and subsequently assumed the duties as Executive Officer for MAG-31 in September 2007.
Lieutenant Colonel Rauenhorst assumed command of VMFA-312 in May 2008. During his tour as Commanding Officer, the “Checkerboards” returned to carrier based operations with Carrier Air Wing THREE onboard USS TRUMAN. The squadron completed 12 deployments for training, and was selected as the Secretary of Defense Small-Unit Level Maintenance Department of the year in 2008 and nominated in 2009 by Headquarters Marine Corps, and earned the CNO Safety Award in 2009. He relinquished command of VMFA-312 in January 2010 and was assigned as Maintenance OIC for Marine Aviation Training and Standardization Squadron at MAG-31.
In July 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Rauenhorst attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and graduated with a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies. In October he was awarded the 2010 Marine Corps Tailhooker of the Year by the Tailhook Association and promoted to his present rank.
Colonel Rauenhorst reported to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South in July 2011 and assumed the duties as MARFORSOUTH, AC/S G-3. As Operations Officer, he coordinated, planned, and oversaw the execution of U.S. Marine forces in the SOUTHCOM AOR supporting the national security strategy to Counter Transnational Organized Crime, including a SPMAGTF embarked onboard USS OAK HILL, over 80 theater security cooperation events, and additionally he served as OIC for a detachment of 200 Marines and Sailors in support of Operation MARTILLO from Guatemala.
In July 2013 he reported to VMX-22 and was temporarily assigned to VMMT-204 for conversion training in the MV-22B. Upon completion of his initial qualification in the Osprey, Colonel Rauenhorst assumed his current duties as the Executive Officer for VMX-22.
Colonel Rauenhorst has flown over 3,100 hours, with over 2,700 in the F/A-18. His personal decorations include the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.