First Sergeant Eric Ezparza
First Sergeant, Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment

First Sergeant Esparza enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2001. He attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California with Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. He graduated in August 2001 as a meritorious Private First Class (PFC). Upon graduation, PFC Esparza reported to the School of Infantry (SOI), Camp Pendleton, California, where he received the Military Occupational Specialty of 0311, Infantry Rifleman.

After graduating SOI, PFC Esparza was assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment (3/3), Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He served from October 2001 to February 2004 as a Rifleman, Fire Team Leader, and Squad Leader, and was promoted through the ranks to Corporal. He deployed twice to Okinawa, Japan on a Unit Deployment Program (UDP), and with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

In February 2004, Corporal Esparza transferred to 1st battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment (1/3), where he served as a Squad Leader until May 2005. He was promoted to Sergeant in August 2004. Sergeant Esparza deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II, with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. During his OIF deployment, Sergeant Esparza participated in Operation Phantom Fury in Al-Fallujah.

In May 2005, Sergeant Esparza was transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) upon completing his active duty enlistment.

In August 2007, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant (SSgt). SSgt Esparza joined the Select Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR) in August 2008, and was assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment (2/24), Chicago, Illinois. During his time at 2/24, SSgt Esparza served as a Platoon Commander. In July 2009, SSgt Esparza participated in Mobile Training Team MEXMAR, Campeche, Mexico.

In March 2011, SSgt Esparza received mobilization orders to Detachment Twentynine Palms, Wounded Warrior Battalion West, Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR). During his time at WWR, he served as a Section Leader and Senior Enlisted Advisor. He was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant in April 2011. Upon completion of his mobilization orders in March 2014, Gunnery Sergeant Esparza transferred to the IRR.

In April 2016, Gunnery Sergeant Esparza joined the Individual Augmentee Program (IMA), and was assigned to the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), where he worked in the G-3 as a Watch Chief. He was selected for, and frocked to First Sergeant in June 2017. First Sergeant Esparza transferred to the SMCR and in July 2017, was assigned to his current position, as the Battery First Sergeant, Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment (5/14), Seal Beach, CA.

First Sergeant Esparza’s personal decorations include the Navy Commendation Medal with one gold star in lieu of second award and Combat Valor Device, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor Device, and the Combat Action Ribbon.