Executive Officer, 5th Battalion, 11th Marines
Major Lizarraga is a native of Phoenix, AZ and is a graduate of Arizona State University. Prior to his 16-year Marine Corps service, he spent 10-years in the corporate business sector at United Parcel Service before attending Officer Candidates School in 1998. Upon receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant, he attended the Basic School in Quantico, VA and then attended the Field Artillery Basic Course in Ft Sill, OK. Upon completion of artillery school, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines in Twenty-nine Palms, CA where he trained as a young artilleryman filling jobs as Forward Observer, Artillery Liaison Officer, Fire Direction Officer, and Assistant Battalion Operations Officer. During this time, he was deployed to Okinawa and Camp Fuji, Japan for a 6-month Unit Deployment Program (UDP).
In 2003, Captain select Lizarraga was assigned his next tour of duty back to Quantico, VA to work aboard the staff at Officer Candidates School. Over the next 3 years, and probably the most rewarding in his career, he held jobs as Platoon Commander, Executive Officer, and Company Commander, and was a part of the screening, training, and evaluating of over 1,500 Marine officer candidates. In 2005, he was selected to attend the resident 9-month Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS) in Quantico, VA where he studied advanced war fighting and operational planning principles.
Upon graduation, he was assigned to Golf Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, where he served as the Inspector-Instructor for Marine Reservists in West Trenton, NJ. He deployed to Iraq in 2006/2007 with a Task Force Military Police Mission where he worked with the Iraqi Police in Central Fallujah, along with conducting detention operations throughout Al Anbar Province. Upon returning from Iraq, Major Lizarraga assisted his reserve artillery battery in their transformation, reintegration, and reconstitution of artillery core competencies, to include the training and fielding of the new M777A2 Howitzer into the reserve component inventory.
Major Lizarraga was promoted to the rank of Major in December of 2008 and in June of 2009 he executed orders to Monterey, CA to attend Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) under the Marine Corps Special Education Program (SEP).
Upon graduation, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Plans, Policies, and Operations Division, Ground Combat Element Branch (PP&O/POG) as a Manpower Analyst for the Ground Combat Element Branch (POG) where he assumed his manpower analyst role. During this time, he was hand-selected for a 1-year deployment in support of the United Arab Emirates Training Mission (MCTM-UAE), as a battalion mechanized infantry advisor to the UAE’s Presidential Guard. Following his return to CONUS, he assumed the duties as the HQMC Artillery Advocate/JTAC OccField Sponsor/Ground Indirect Fires Officer.
On 9 May 2014, Maj Lizarraga was assigned to Camp Pendleton, CA where he assumed the duties as Battalion Executive Officer for 5th Battalion, 11th Marines.
Major Lizarraga is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Arizona State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Sociology in 1996. He obtained his Masters of Science in Management from NPS in March of 2011. His Master’s Thesis was titled: “Patterns of Marine Corps Reserve Continuation Behavior: Pre- and Post-9/11”. Major Lizarraga is also a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College’s Distance Education Command and Staff Program.
Major Lizarraga’s personal decorations include: The Bronze Star Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 3 gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon. Major Lizarraga’s contemporary issues essay on leadership titled: “Institutionalizing the Tri-focal View” was published in the Marine Corps Gazette in December 2006.