Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) Rivera is a native of Laredo, Texas. SgtMaj Rivera graduated from Laredo Martin High School in May of 1996. On November 9, 1996 Israel Rivera reported to MCRD San Diego for Recruit Training. Private (PVT) Rivera graduated from MCRD San Diego with 3rd Battalion, India Company on February 10, 1997.
February 17th, 1997 Pvt Rivera reported to Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), Camp Pendleton Ca. where he was assigned to Bravo Company and became an Infantry Motormen (0341). March 23, 1997 PFC Rivera graduated ITB and reported to 1st Battalion 3rd Marines (1/3) in Honolulu, Hi.
PFC Rivera was assigned to Weapons Company and was placed in the 81s Mortar Plt. PFC Rivera participated in two Unit Deployment Program deployments with 1/3, going to Okinawa Japan, Guam, Korea, Japan and Hawaii. Before he went on his first deployment PFC Rivera was promoted to LCpl served as a squad leader while on deployment, having the responsibility of a mortar system and 6 Marines.
In 1998 upon returning from deployment he attended Squad Leaders Course in Hawaii. After graduating Squad Leaders Course LCpl Rivera was promoted to Corporal. Cpl Rivera went on his second deployment where he continued to serve as a squad leader. In 1999 Cpl Rivera was promoted to Sergeant served in the billet of section leader. Sgt Rivera reenlisted and received orders to Weapons Field Battalion, Camp Pendleton California. Sgt Rivera reported to Weapons Field Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton California on November 16, 2000. Sgt Rivera was assigned to Field Company where he was responsible for training more than 10,000 recruits in field firing techniques. Sgt Rivera became the Chief Instructor of Alpha Range with in 7 months of his arrival. In October of 2001 Sgt Rivera attended the Small Arms Weapons Instructor Course in Quantico, Va. Upon his graduation Sgt Rivera continued to work on Alpha Range and Range 501 where he trained recruits on the crucible.
On November 9, 2003 Sgt Rivera received orders to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and was assigned to Weapons Company. In February of 2004 he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Sgt Rivera served as a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) commander with 6 Marines. Sgt Rivera conducted more than 100 combat missions with his platoon in Al-Qa’im, Iraq. On August of 2004 Sgt Rivera’s LAV was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and he was sent back to CONUS.
Once his unit re-deployed to the States and after post deployment leave Sgt Rivera got back to training. In February of 2005 he attended LAV’s leaders Course. Sgt Rivera also served as company gunny and conducted several training evolutions with the company. Sgt Rivera was soon after assigned the billet of Platoon Commander and began training his platoon for the next deployment. In September 2005 Sergeant Rivera again deployed in support of OIF and his company was assigned to Camp Korean Village, Iraq. Sgt Rivera served as the rear security element for company size missions and movements. While on deployment Sgt Rivera got promoted to Staff Sergeant (SSgt), his platoon was involved in many operations along the Euphrates River and the Syrian border.
While on deployment SSgt Rivera was assigned to a Platoon Commander billet for about 2 months in order to cover all of his company’s area of operation. On November 7, 2005 while conducting a security mission along the Jordanian Boarder SSgt Rivera’s vehicle struck a pressure plated IED that injured several of his Marines and himself. He received several non threatening lacerations to his body, about 2 weeks of medical care he returned to his platoon. SSgt Rivera continued to participate in many operations that took his platoon all over Iraq. SSgt Rivera re-deployed in April of 2006. Upon return SSgt Rivera served as Company Gunny. SSgt Rivera received orders to Marine Combat Instructor School in July of 2006. After graduation in October of 2006 he was assigned to Fox Company Marine Combat Training Battalion, where he served as a Platoon Commander and Company Gunny. SSgt Rivera attended Staff Academy and then reported to H&S Battalion in December of 2007 and became the Retention Platoon Commander. In February of 2009 SSgt Rivera was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) and was reassigned as the SNCOIC for Separations and Retention Platoon. In September of 2009 GySgt Rivera received orders to 1st Battalion 7th Marines, 29 Palms California.
GySgt Rivera reported to 1st Bn 7th Mar and was assigned to Alpha Company, where he served as the Platoon Sergeant for Weapons Platoon. GySgt Rivera participated in a deployment visiting many pacific countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, and South Korea. Upon returning from deployment GySgt Rivera served as the Company Gunnery Sergeant at the end of 2010. GySgt Rivera served in different companies during the next two years and then returned back to Alpha Company towards the end of January 2012. In February of 2012 GySgt Rivera deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Helmand Province, Sang-in District Afghanistan. GySgt Rivera’s company was assigned as the Adviser Company, where he trained Afghanistan National Security Forces.
GySgt Rivera took over the company as the 1stSgt within 2 months of re-deployment. GySgt Rivera was selected to 1stSgt and was frocked in February 2013 to 1stSgt. 1stSgt Rivera lead and trained his Marines until May of that year when he got orders to Inspector & Instructor duty in Abilene Texas. In August 2016 1stSgt Rivera checked into 3rd Battalion 1st Marines and took over Weapons Company as the company 1stSgt and went on deployment with them, upon returning from deployment 1stSgt Rivera was frocked to SgtMaj in September of 2017. SgtMaj Rivera received orders to 2ND BN 23RD MAR and reported to his new duty station on October 2017.
SgtMaj Rivera’s personal awards include: The Purple Heart in lieu of 2nd Award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in lieu of 3rd Award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in lieu of 2nd Award, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal in lieu of 6th Award and numerous unit awards.