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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve


U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

Augment. Reinforce. Support.

2000 Opelousas Ave., New Orleans, LA 70114
Commanding Officer, 4th Civil Affairs Group Colonel Valerie A. Jackson

A native New Englander, Second Lieutenant Ray entered the Marine Corps from Boston University’s NROTC program in 1994. She completed The Basic School and Basic Communication Officers’ Course in 1995, and reported to Marine Wing Communications Squadron-28 (MWCS-28) in Cherry Point, North Carolina, as a communications officer.

While at MWCS-28, Lieutenant Ray served as Wire and Radio Platoon Commander and Detachment Operations and Executive Officer. In 1996, she deployed as an embassy liaison officer to Lima, Peru, supporting a radar detachment in the Amazon River valley. Upon her return, Lieutenant Ray, served as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Communications Officer for Combined Arms Exercises 9 and 10 in 29 Palms, California.

In 1997, Lieutenant Ray joined Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT), School of Infantry-East (SOI-East) as a company executive officer to assist in female enlisted integration efforts. In 1998, then Captain Jackson transitioned to SOI’s Headquarters and Service Battalion to serve as Marines Awaiting Training and Headquarters and Service Company Commanders, and finally as Headquarters and Service Battalion executive officer. In July of 1999, she transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve.

During August of 2003, Captain Jackson became the Peacetime/Wartime Support Team Officer-in-Charge for India Company, 3d Battalion, 23d Marines, in Little Rock, Arkansas. As the Reserve site commander, Captain Jackson performed various public outreach duties, many of which called her to be the senior Marine representative at both State affairs and funeral honors for all Marines buried in the state of Arkansas.

Major Jackson joined the Marine Corps History Division in 2006 as the senior editor and a field historian. During that time, she revitalized the Division’s historical publication, Fortitudine and covered Theater Security Cooperation Exercises Cobra Gold in Thailand and African Lion in Morocco. She subsequently published articles in Fortitudine and Leatherneck magazines respectively. 

Major Jackson joined the SCETC Civil-Military Operations Branch in October and received the additional MOS of Civil Affairs. There she assisted in the Branch’s development of a Program of Instruction for the first USMC Civil Affairs MOS School. In 2009, Major Jackson deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in support of Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan.

LtCol Jackson joined II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) as the CMO Planner in 2011 and formed and trained the C-9 (Civil Military Operations) section for II MEF Forward’s OEF deployment in early 2013. She then transitioned to the II MEF G-6 as the Reserve Operations Officer before assuming the staff position as the Marine Forces Reserve Force Headquarters Group (FHG) G-6 in September 2013. From December 2013 to May 2015, she was the commanding officer of Marine Wing Communications Squadron-48 (MWCS-48), supporting both Reserve and combatant commander requirements around the globe.

In May 2015, she transferred to the 8th Marine Corps Recruiting District as a Recruiting Support Officer, Dallas, Texas. Colonel Jackson’s personal awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. She holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College (distinguished graduate), a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Conflict Management and Resolution from UNC-Wilmington, and a Bachelor’s in History from Boston University.