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Kosovo, Desert Storm vet celebrates 29 years in Corps

19 Feb 2009 | Lance Cpl. Paul Basciano

For some Marines, they spend their entire time in the Corps do­ing a few jobs, mostly related to one another.

In Col. Joel G. Schwankl’s 29 years of service, he experienced most of what the Corps could offer him be­fore his retirement ceremony Thurs­day.

Col. Schwankl was commissioned in late 1980 and reported to Camp Pendleton in January 1981 where he served as a rifle platoon commander, weapons platoon commander, and company executive officer in Com­pany A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

He experienced many facets of the Marine Corps, including differ­ent commanding roles on the recruit depot, attending amphibious warfare school, deploying to Honduras for training, and serving as an inspec­tor-instructor for Company D, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines in Madison, Wisconsin.

During his time with 2/24 he deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm as a member of the Combat Replacement Regiment.

In 1995, he was ordered to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Oki­nawa and served as the Raid Branch head. After a promotion to lieutenant colonel, he was moved to officer-in-charge of III MEF Special Operations Training Group.

He deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Operations Al­lied Force in the Adriatic sea, Allied Harbor in Albania, Joint Guardian in Kosovo, and Avid Response in Tur­key.

Col. Schwankl ended the last few years of his career deploying to Norway as the 2nd Marine Regiment executive officer, commanding of­ficer of the Mountain Warfare Train­ing Center, deploying again as G-3 current operations officer, I MEF in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and finally as chief of staff for the 1st Marine Division.

He now retires from his lengthy and varied service to the Marine Corps as an example of how far one can go with a career in the Corps.