Lieutenant Colonel Palka holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Kent State University (2006), and Masters in Business Administration M.B.A. from Webster University (2014). He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in May 2006.
Upon completion of The Basic School and Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, Lieutenant Palka was assigned to 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California where he served as a Fire Direction Officer, Platoon Commander, and Battery Executive Officer with 5th Battalion, 11th Marines (5/11). While assigned to 5/11, he deployed with Battery S to Al Anbar Province, Iraq in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and with Battery T to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in July 2010 and subsequently reported to the Marine Artillery Detachment (MARDET) Fort Sill, Oklahoma. While assigned to the MARDET Fort Sill, he served as a Gunnery Instructor with the Officer Instruction Branch for the Artillery Basic Officer Leadership Course and the United States Army Captains Career Course. He also served as the Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Corps Fires Branch for Enlisted Gunnery Instruction and Command and Control Systems.
Following graduation from Expeditionary Warfare School in May of 2014, Captain Palka was assigned to 2d Battalion, 10th Marines (2/10), 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and assumed duties as the Battalion Assistant Operations Officer and Battalion Fire Direction Officer. In November of 2014 he assumed command of Battery E, 2/10. In October of 2015, Battery E deployed in support of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit as part of Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 6th Marines to the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, and North Arabian Sea, and executed combat operations in northern Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).
Promoted to the rank of Major in July 2016, he was assigned to 5th Battalion, 14th Marines (5/14), 4th Marine Division, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California and fulfilled duties as the Inspector-Instructor for Battery O 5/14 until January 2017 and then the Assistant Battalion Inspector-Instructor/ Executive Officer until June 2019. In July 2019 he assumed duties as the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). While assigned to OFDA he participated in the 2019 Hurricane Dorian disaster response as a Civil-Military Affairs Officer to United States Northern Command, and deployed to Kuwait as the Civil-Military Affairs Coordinator to Special Operations Joint Task Force-OIR as part of the Middle East Crisis Humanitarian Response (Syria/Iraq) Disaster Assistance Response Team.
In June 2020, Major Palka assumed duties as the Battalion Executive Officer, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division where he served until June 2021. Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in September 2021, he served as the 1st Marine Division Assistant Fire Support Coordinator until June 2022.
Lieutenant Colonel Palka assumed command of 1st Battalion, 11th Marines in June 2022.
Lieutenant Colonel Palka is a 2017 graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff distance education program. His personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal (with Combat Distinguishing Device “V”), Meritorious Service Medal (with Gold Star in lieu of second award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Gold Star in lieu of second award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon (with Gold Star in lieu of second award). He is the 2016 recipient of the Marine Corps’ Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich Trophy for Outstanding Leadership.