Craig S. Carstens enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1994 and completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California in March of 1995. Private Carstens graduated recruit training as the platoon honor man and was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class. After completing Marine Combat Training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, he received orders to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty Nine Palms (MCAGCC) California.
In May, 1995, Private First Class Carstens was assigned to the Marine Corps Communication Electronics School (MCCES). Private First Class Carstens completed Basic Electronics Communications Course, Radio Fundamentals Course and the Ground Radio Repair Course while earning the MOS of 2840 in February of 1996.
In February 1996, Lance Corporal Carstens reported to Marine Wing Communications Squadron-48 Detachment Airfield Forward, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. Lance Corporal Carstens participated in the transition of MWCS-48 as the unit was relocated from MCAS El Toro to Naval Air Station, Miramar California in the spring of 1996.
In June 1996, Lance Corporal Carstens served as Ground Radio Repairman for the Maintenance platoon providing ground assistance to Marine Aircraft Group-46 as the Air station transitioned from Naval Air Station Miramar to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
In December 1996, Lance Corporal Carstens assumed the duties of squad leader and was subsequently promoted to Corporal. Corporal Carstens participated in two Combined Arms Exercises (CAX) at MCAGCC Twenty Nine Palms and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant.
In October 1998, Sergeant Carstens was assigned the duties of Platoon Sergeant and eventually Platoon Commander for the Communications Electronics Maintenance Section. Sergeant Carstens led his Marines through four additional Combined Armed Exercises and was subsequently promoted to Staff Sergeant.
In February 2003, Staff Sergeant Carstens was mobilized for twelve months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He deployed to Kuwait and Iraq and served as both the Single Channel Radio Chief and Communication Electronics Maintenance Chief in direct support of Naval Fleet Hospital 15, the first Naval Medical hospital ever to move forward into a Combat Zone.
In June 2004, Staff Sergeant Carstens was mobilized for twelve months to serve with the Inspector-Instructor staff of MWCS-48 Det A FWD. He served as the Administrative Chief, Training Chief, Substance Abuse Control Officer and Company Gunnery Sergeant and was subsequently promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.
In June 2005, Gunnery Sergeant Carstens performed an Inner Unit Transfer to Communications Company (-) H&S Battalion 4th Marine Logistics Group, Greensboro, North Carolina. He served as both the Communications Electronics Maintenance Chief as well as the Wire Chief during his tenure. Gunnery Sergeant Carstens was selected for First Sergeant in April of 2009 and was frocked in May 2009.
In June 2009, First Sergeant Carstens was assigned as the Company First Sergeant with Charlie Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Lynchburg, Virginia. After serving six months with Charlie Company he was mobilized as part of a command element in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In December 2009, First Sergeant Carstens traveled to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty Nine Palms and assumed the duties as Company First Sergeant for Charlie Company, 3d Combat Engineer Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. Here he spent ninety days on a pre-deployment work-up and participated in multiple areas of advanced training taught by military personnel and Federal authorities.
In March 2010, First Sergeant Carstens deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He and his Marines served in direct support of Third Battalion, First Marines and Third Battalion, Third Marines. While in theater he participated in multiple operations to include the rebuilding of the Marjah Government center and Operation Safaar bazaar.
In October 2010, First Sergeant Carstens redeployed to California and detached from 3d Combat Engineer Battalion. He then reassumed his duties as Company First Sergeant at Charlie Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion in Lynchburg, Virginia and was demobilized in January of 2011.
In July 2011, First Sergeant Carstens transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve awaiting follow on assignment.
In December 2011, First Sergeant Carstens is assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, Combat Logistics Battalion – 453 (CLB-453), 4th Marine Logistics Group in Aurora, Colorado. He assumed the duties as Company First Sergeant and utilized Active Duty Operational Support to manage the process of a Force Restructure that deactivated Marine Air Control Squadron-23 and re-structured 4th Supply Battalion.
In October 2014, First Sergeant Carstens transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve awaiting follow on assignment.
In May 2015, First Sergeant Carstens was assigned as the Company First Sergeant, Rifle Company India, 3d Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division in Johnson City, Tennessee. He led his Marines through the 2015 Integrated Training Exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty Nine Palms and in April 2016 Exercise Arctic Eagle in Grayling, Michigan.
In May 2016, First Sergeant Carstens assumed his present duties as the Senior Enlisted Leader of Deployment Processing Command/Reserve Support Unit - East.
In July 2016, First Sergeant Carstens was promoted to Sergeant Major and retained his position as the Senior Enlisted Leader of Deployment Processing Command/Reserve Support Unit - East. Sergeant Major Carstens has also been assigned to HMLA-775, MAG-41 as the reserve Sergeant Major effective 1 September. Sergeant Major Carstens will serve as the Senior Enlisted Leader for both commands into 2017.
Sergeant Major Carstens’ awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal with hour glass and mobilization device, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one bronze star.