Sergeant Major Ramona D. Cook, USMC

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Ramona D. Cook was born on November 22, 1962 in Los Angeles, California. She reported to Parris Island on September 26, 1982. On December 5, 1982, she was declared a Marine, and departed Parris Island as a proud Private First Class.

In December 1982, she reported to Marine Corps Communications and Electronics School, 29 Palms, California, and later received her MOS of Aviation Radio Repairer (5937). In January 1984, LCpl Cook reported to Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Okinawa, Japan. While in Okinawa, she participated in Operation Team Spirit in Pohang, South Korea, and was promoted to Corporal in May 1984. In January 1985, she reported to H&HS-38, Marine Air Control Group 38 at El Toro, California. In November

1985, she was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and began serving in a new MOS, Maintenance Management Specialist (0411).

In June 1990, she was promoted to Staff Sergeant, and later transferred to Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, as the Battalion Maintenance Management Chief. In 1993 she reported to Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Camp Pendleton and was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant in March 1995. In April 1995, GySgt Cook reported to Drill Instructor School. She was assigned to duty as a Drill Instructor in November Company, Fourth Recruit Training Battalion. While at Parris Island, she also held the billets of Senior Drill Instructor, Series Gunnery Sergeant, and was the first Company First Sergeant for the newly activated Papa Company.

In August 1997, GySgt Cook again reported to Marine Air Control Squadron 4, in Okinawa. There she held the billet as the Squadron Maintenance Management Chief, until May 1999 when promoted to First Sergeant. She then reported to H&S Bn, 1st FSSG, to serve as the Service Company First Sergeant, and the Combat Service Support Detachment 34 First Sergeant. During this time, she participated in Operation Ulchi Focus Lens 99 in Pohang, South Korea. In July 2000, 1stSgt Cook returned stateside, and reported to Weapons and Field Training Battalion to assume the duties as the Range Company First Sergeant.

In February 2003, she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major. That same month she deployed with her new unit, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom until September 2003. In October 2004, SgtMaj Cook deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom until March 2005.

In May 2005, SgtMaj Cook was recognized by the Congressional Caucus for Women as the Outstanding Female Marine SNCO for May 2004 through May 2005.

In February 2006, SgtMaj Cook reported to Headquarters and Support Battalion, School of Infantry where she served as the battalion Sergeant Major, until January 2007. In March 2007, SgtMaj Cook reported to Okinawa, Japan and had the opportunity to serve as the first female Director of a Marine Corps Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy until December 2008.

In February 2009, SgtMaj Cook reported to Camp Pendleton to assume her new duties as the Marine Corps Base Sergeant Major.

In February 2012, SgtMaj Cook was the first Department of Defense enlisted recipient to receive the annual Stars & Stripes Award for outstanding leadership. In April 2012, she relinquished her duties as the MCB Camp Pendleton, and participated in the ceremony to merge Marine Corps Base and Marine Corps Installations-West, officially serving as the last Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Sergeant Major.

SgtMaj Cook retired after 30 years of honorable service in September 2012.

SgtMaj Cook’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal, with two gold stars in lieu of third award, the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with three gold stars in lieu of fourth award and various campaign and service awards.