Sergeant Major Carstens is a native of Kankakee, Illinois. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on December 7th, 1994 in Huntington Beach, California and attended Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He graduated Platoon Honor man and was meritoriously promoted to PFC. 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 2841 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.
While stationed at MCAS Miramar, LCpl Carstens was promoted to Corporal, Sergeant and Staff Sergeant and attended seven Combined Arms Exercises (CAX) at MCAGCC Twenty Nine Palms and was subsequently promoted to 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. Where he was selected for First Sergeant 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. Four months after joining the Company, First Sergeant Carstens was mobilized for 450 days and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan with 3d CEB. He and his Marines served in direct support 7th Marine Regiment. While in theater he participated in multiple operations to include the rebuilding of the Marjah Government center and Operation Roadhouse I and II. First Sergeant Carstens returned to Charlie Company, 4th CEB in January of 2011.
In December 2011, First Sergeant Carstens was assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, Combat Logistics Battalion – 453 (CLB-453), 4th Marine Logistics Group in Aurora, Colorado. His follow on assignment began in May 2015 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 in Twenty Nine Palms and in April 2016 Joint Exercise Arctic Eagle in Grayling, Michigan.
In April 2016, First Sergeant Carstens was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major and in May 2016, Sergeant Major Carstens accepted Active Duty Orders for Operational Support as the Senior Enlisted Leader of Deployment Processing Command/Reserve Support Unit – East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he served until October 2017. During that time, Sergeant Major Carstens was also selected to post as the Reserve Sergeant Major for Helicopter Marine Light Attack Squadron, HMLA 775(-), MAG-41, Camp Pendleton, California. He served at both Commands, on both coasts for over a year.
In June 2018, Sergeant Major Carstens reported to 3D Civil Affairs Group, Great Lakes, Illinois to assume his duties as the Sergeant Major.
Sergeant Major Carstens’ awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, 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.