Sergeant Major Ryan C. Willhite, originally from Ronceverte, West Virginia, joined the Marine Corps July 29, 1986. He attended recruit training at Paris Island where he was a member of 2nd Battalion "D" Company and a squad leader. Graduating Recruit Training in October, 1986 as a PFC, he attended Infantry Training School at Camp Geiger, NC where he trained as an 0331, Machine Gunner. Graduating 1st in his class, PFC Willhite was meritoriously promoted to the rank of LCPL.
In December 1986, Lcpl Willhite reported to MCRD, San Diego to attend Sea School in preparation for assignment to Sea Duty. Upon completion of Sea School, Lcpl Willhite reported to Norfolk, VA and was assigned as a Marine Security Guard aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, CVN-69. He served two years on Sea Duty completing a Med. float and numerous other deployments.
In 1988, Lcpl Willhite was promoted to the rank of Cpl. He attended NCO School in Quantico VA where he graduated 1st in his class. In January, 1988 upon completion of NCO School, Cpl Willhite attended Airborne School in Ft. Benning Ga.
In March 1989, Cpl Willhite reported to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C. He attended Amphibious Reconnaissance School in July, 1989. Cpl Willhite deployed as part of the 4th MEB during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was discharged from active duty on 29 August, 1991.
In December 1991, Cpl Willhite joined the Marine Corps Reserve at 2nd MEB, Camp Lejeune, N.C. In March 1992, Cpl. Willhite was promoted to the rank of SGT. SGT Willhite attended Embark and Logistics School at Little Creek Amphibious Base, Little Creek VA in the summer of 1992. Sgt. Willhite served as embark clerk for the unit until 1996 as a SSGT; he took over duties as Company Gunnery Sergeant. SSGT Willhite attended the Career Course in the summer of 1995, immediately after his promotion to SSGT.
In January 1997, SSGT Willhite was selected for promotion to the rank of GYSGT. He attended the Advanced Course in June 1997 and continued serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant until his selection for the rank of 1STSGT in January 2000. He was joined 4th Supply Company (-), Raleigh, N.C. and served a three year tour as Company 1STSGT. 1STSGT Willhite transferred to H&S Company, Newport News Virginia where he was activated and deployed with 4th Supply Battalion in support of Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom. 1STSGT Willhite oversaw the deployment of over 900 Marines in support of I MEF during OIF. 1STSGT Willhite returned with most of the company from Camp Pendleton Ca in July, 2003 where he finished his tour as Company 1STSGT.
1STSGT Willhite deployed to Iraq in 2005 and was the H&S Company 1STSGT for CLR-25 aboard Al Taqaddum, Iraq. He returned from combat operations in March, 2006 and was promoted to his current rank of Sergeant Major in May, 2006. SGTMAJ Willhite reported to 4th Maintenance Battalion, Charlotte N.C. as the Battalion SGTMAJ. After serving 4 years in the Marine Logistics Group, SGTMAJ Willhite reported to Grand Prairie Texas as the Battalion SGTMAJ for 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines from June 2010-June 2013. In June 2013, SGTMAJ was slated to assume the duties of the Regimental SGTMAJ of 25th Marine Regiment in Ft. Devens M.A. where he now serves.