Sergeant Major, 3rd Battalion 4th Marines
SgtMaj Nathan D. Aja

Sergeant Major Nathan D. Aja enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2003 from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA. After recruit training, Private First Class Aja attended the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton and received the Military Occupational Specialty of 0311, Infantry Rifleman. Upon completion, he reported to 2nd Battalion, 3d Marines, Echo Company, aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. 

He was promoted to Lance Corporal in October and deployed in November of 2003 on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit participating in various exercises such as Foul Eagle (Korea) and Cobra Gold (Thailand). In March of 2005, during the workup for his second deployment, he was promoted to Corporal. From June 2005 until January 2006, he deployed to the Kunar Province of Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) as a team leader. 

Once Corporal Aja returned from OEF, he participated in the Fleet Assistants Program aboard Camp Smith with Headquarters Battalion Marine Corps Base Hawaii. On 1 October 2006, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and, in January 2007, reached the end of his active service where he transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve. While in the Individual Ready Reserve, Sergeant Aja attended Windward Community College on the island of Oahu, completing 12 college credit hours toward his general education. 

In May 2007, Sergeant Aja reenlisted to active duty and reported to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, Golf Company as a Squad Leader. From February to August 2008, Sergeant Aja served as a Mounted Section leader for the Company Commander’s Personal Security Detachment while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for his third deployment. May of 2009 was his fourth deployment, this time to the Helmand Province, Afghanistan as a Squad Leader for another tour in support of OEF. 

In July 2010, Sergeant Aja was assigned to SOI West Detachment Hawaii and served as a Squad Instructor for the Infantry Squad Leaders Course. In August 2011, he attended Martial Arts Instructor Trainers Course at the Marine Corps Martial Arts Center of Excellence, earning the Military Occupational Specialty 0917. He then served as the Chief Instructor for all Martial Arts Instructor Courses for SOI West Detachment Hawaii. 

Sergeant Aja was promoted to Staff Sergeant on 1 January 2012, and then on 1 August 2012, reported to 3d Battalion, 7th Marines. Staff Sergeant Aja served as a Platoon Sergeant with Kilo Company for his fifth and sixth deployments. First to OEF (Helmand Province) then to Operation Inherent Resolve aboard Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. 

Upon his return from Operation Inherent Resolve, Staff Sergeant Aja received orders to 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, reporting in April of 2016. On arrival, he was assigned to Lima Company as a Platoon Sergeant and would deploy in June 2016 to Okinawa for his seventh deployment. While deployed, he participated in Aviation Assault Exercise 16.1 in the Philippines and the Korean Military Exchange Program training with Korean Marine forces across the Korean Peninsula. Staff Sergeant Aja was then promoted to Gunnery Sergeant on 1 July 2017. He was reassigned as the Company Gunnery Sergeant and in November 2017 deployed to Okinawa for his eighth deployment. While on deployment Gunnery Sergeant Aja again participated in Cobra Gold and the Korean Military Exchange Program. In July 2018, Gunnery Sergeant Aja reported to Marine Security Guard School to become a Detachment Commander. From October 2018 to July 2021, he was posted at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and the U.S. Embassy in Panama City, Panama. 

After another successful Special Duty Assignment tour, Gunnery Sergeant Aja was promoted to First Sergeant on 13 July 2021, reporting to 3d Battalion, 11th Marines. In November 2021, he deployed on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as a part of the Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, where he served as the Battery K First Sergeant on his ninth deployment. On returning, he served as the Headquarters Battery First Sergeant until 1 December 2022 when First Sergeant Aja received orders to Communications Training Battalion, where he filled a gap and served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for 7 months, followed by serving as the MCCES Headquarters Company Unit Senior Enlisted Leader. Sergeant Major received PCA orders to assume the role of Battalion Sergeant Major for 3D Battalion, 4TH Marines on March 8th 2024. 

Sergeant Major Aja’s personal decorations include Navy Commendation Medal and 1 gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “V” with five gold stars and Combat Action Ribbon. 

1st Marine Division