Staff Sergeant Eric Gonzales studied towards his Bachelors in Music Education at the University of Arizona when he enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 2010, and attended recruit training at MCRD San Diego, California. After graduation in November of 2010 as the company honor graduate, Lance Corporal Gonzales attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California where he graduated honor graduate there as well. He then reported to the Armed Forces School of Music as a student in the Music Basic Course where he completed the training on an accelerated training schedule and was promoted to the rank of Corporal.
Corporal Gonzales’ first assignment was to III Marine Expeditionary Force Band, Okinawa, Japan where he became a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor and served as the Drum Major for prestigious performances such as The Japanese Self Defense Force Marching Festival at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan and other ceremonies for the III Marine Expeditionary Force. Upon being promoted to Sergeant in October of 2013, he was assigned as Squad Leader and Administration Section Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.
In August of 2014 Sergeant Gonzales was transferred to the 1st Marine Division Band where he served as a Squad Leader, Platoon Guide, Platoon Sergeant, and the Training, Transportation, Morale Welfare and Recreation section chief. During this time, Sergeant Gonzales served in the Headquarters Battalion Security Platoon as a squad leader, leading Marines in rifleman and machine gunner training. In October of 2017 he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as the Assistant Drum Major and Administration Section Chief.
Staff Sergeant Gonzales was selected for the Unit Leader’s Course at the Navy School of Music and graduated in August 2018 transferring to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina where he was selected for and served as the Drum Major. SSgt Gonzales drafted and implemented various programs while at Parris Island, improving operational processes, motivating the unit, and tending to the well-being of the Marines. Notably, SSgt Gonzales assisted in the drafting and implementing of split and follow on operations orders in order to sustain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staff Sergeant Gonzales’ military decorations include the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (second award). Staff Sergeant Gonzales is married to Shannon Gonzales and has two children, Zoe & Kaylee.