Col. Donald Maraska
Col. Don Maraska enlisted in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner in 1989. From 1989-93, he was a reconnaissance Marine with 1st Recon Battalion serving in Desert Storm with Task Force Ripper and in Somalia with the 11th MEU (SOC). Maraska was honorably discharged in 1993.
After graduating from the University of Idaho (BS Economics), he was commissioned in 1996. At The Basic School, he selected aviation and was winged with follow-on training in the KC130. While assigned to VMGR-352, he deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom (2002), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003), and was selected for transition to the MV-22 Osprey.
Maraska requested orders to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment to serve as an air officer with follow on orders to his training in the MV-22. He deployed to Al Anbar, Iraq as a forward air controller and participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve. Due to injuries, he was redirected to the Naval Postgraduate School where he earned a Master’s Degree in Management.
From 2007-09, Maraska served as the M&RA officer promotion planner and officer-in-charge of the Officer Plans Section, then from 2009-10 as the aide-de-camp for DC M&RA, Lieutenant Generals Coleman and Zilmer. In 2010, he was assigned to the JCS AFPAK Hands program, HQ ISAF focusing on economic development. From 2012-14, he was assigned to the OSD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan to continue efforts in the Afghan mining and petroleum sectors.
From 2014-16, Maraska commanded the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRD) Parris Island, South Carolina. For academic year 2016-17, he completed Top Level School at the Israeli National Defense College earning a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Haifa University. In 2017, he was the HQMC OLA Acquisition Programs liaison officer. Upon selection to his current rank, Col. Maraska was assigned as OPNAV N98 Expeditionary Air Warfare branch head.
Col. Maraska’s personal decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal x2, Air Medal with the numeral 4, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon with star, and Good Conduct Medal.