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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit


31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

The only continuously forward-deployed MEU

Okinawa, Japan
Sergeant Major's Bio

Sergeant Major Jim Lanham

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major Jim Lanham enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1990 and attended recruit training at MCRD Parris Island South Carolina.  After the completion of the School of Infantry he was assigned the MOS 0311, rifleman with follow on training at Marine Security Guard School, Dam Neck Virginia.

Upon completion of Security Guard school Private First Class Lanham was transferred to Yorktown Virginia for duty as a Marine Security Guard. While assigned to Yorktown Virginia, he was subsequently promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and served as a security Guard and Corporal of the guard.

In February 1992, Lance Corporal Lanham transferred to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Camp Lejeune North Carolina and was promoted to Corporal the following year. While serving at this command, he participated in Operation SEA SIGNAL in support of Haitian and Cuban migrant humanitarian missions while embarked and ashore at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Upon his return, Corporal Lanham served as Police Sergeant and later Platoon Sergeant for 3rd Platoon Fox Company. While assigned to Fox Company, he was deployed to Okinawa, Japan.

On 1 February 1995, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and deployed as a member of BLT 2/6, 26th MEU(SOC), from August 1995 to February 1996, while deployed he participated in Operations DENY FLIGHT and JOINT/DECISIVE ENDEAVOR.

In October 1996, Sergeant Lanham reported to Drill Instructor School, Parris Island, South Carolina. Upon graduation in December 1996, Sergeant Lanham was assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion for Duty as a Drill Instructor. During his tour, he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as a Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor.

In December 1999, Staff Sergeant Lanham transferred to Golf Company 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines, Marine Corps Base, Hawaii to serve as a Platoon Sergeant.  During his tour, he was deployed to Okinawa Japan and upon completion of deployment; Staff Sergeant Lanham was selected to lead a Platoon of Marines to the Kwajalein Atoll in support of a security mission for a missile test.  Upon completion, Staff Sergeant Lanham was assigned as Company Gunnery Sergeant.

In December 2002, Staff Sergeant Lanham was selected and transferred to Assistant Marine Officer Instructor Duty at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On 1 October 2003, Staff Sergeant Lanham was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. During his tour, Gunnery Sergeant Lanham also served as Sergeant Instructor at Officer Candidate School.

In August 2005, Gunnery Sergeant Lanham was transferred to Kilo Company 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines for duty as a Company Gunnery Sergeant. In February 2006 Gunnery Sergeant Lanham was deployed to Iraq in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) 05-07.

After his return from a successful combat tour, he was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant and transferred to Lima Company 3d Battalion 3d Marines were he deployed on a subsequent combat tour in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) 06-08.

In June of 2008, First Sergeant Lanham was transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron 472 Detachment A where he served as the Site First Sergeant.

In July 2010, First Sergeant Lanham was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major and transferred to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.  During this tour, he deployed in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and a subsequent Unit Deployment Program (UDP) to Okinawa Japan in 2013.

In December 2013 Sergeant Major Lanham was transferred to Recruiting Station Raleigh NC where he served as the RS Sergeant Major.

Sergeant Major Lanham assumed duties as the 31st MEU’s sergeant major August 10, 2016.

Sergeant Major Lanham’s personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Gold Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars and Combat “V” distinguishing device, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.




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