Sergeant Major Garza enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Houston, TX and completed recruit training with 3d Recruit Training Battalion at MCRD San Diego, CA in 1993. After completing Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry aboard Camp Pendleton, CA, Private First Class Garza completed the Field Radio Operator Course at the Marine Corps Communication Electronics School in 29 Palms, CA and received orders to Okinawa, Japan.
Lance Corporal Garza’s first duty assignment was with 3d Intelligence Company, 3d Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group, III MEF where he served as a field radio operator, remote sensor operator and team leader. During this tour, he participated in a variety of theater exercises and deployed for counter-drug operations.
Transferred back to the United States in 1996 to Camp Lejeune, NC, Corporal Garza was assigned to 2d Intelligence Company, 2d Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group, II MEF and then onto 2d Radio Battalion, II MEF Headquarters Group, II MEF serving as a field radio operator, remote sensor operator, team leader, squad leader and communications chief. He was then later assigned to Fox Company, 2d Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division. During this tour, he again participated in several deployments and counter-drug operations.
In 1999, Sergeant Garza volunteered for Drill Instructor duty at MCRD Parris Island, SC. After completion of Drill Instructor School, he was assigned to 3d Recruit Training Battalion where he served as a drill instructor, senior drill instructor, series gunnery sergeant and operations chief for Lima Company, Recruits Awaiting Disposition Section Staff Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge for Headquarters Company and as a series gunnery sergeant for Kilo Company.
Following his tour on Drill Instructor duty in 2002, Staff Sergeant Garza was transferred back to Camp Lejeune, NC and assigned to Charlie Company, 2d Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division where he served as a communications chief and platoon sergeant. During this tour, he deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM with Regimental Combat Team-5, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 2-2 and 04-06 with Regimental Combat Team-1, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 2-2, Charlie Company was heavily involved in Operation PHANTOM FURY (AL FAJR), the Battle of Fallujah.
In 2005, Gunnery Sergeant Garza was selected for duty at the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Camp Lejeune, NC where he served as a faculty advisor for the Career Course before being temporarily assigned to the Enlisted Professional Military Education Branch, Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA as a curriculum developer. Upon completion of this assignment, Gunnery Sergeant Garza returned to Camp Lejeune where he served as a faculty advisor and Chief Instructor of the Career Course and as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge of the Sergeants Course.
Upon promotion to first sergeant in 2008, First Sergeant Garza received orders to Combat Assault Battalion, 3d Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan serving as the Company First Sergeant for Combat Engineer Company and as the Battalion Sergeant Major. In 2009, First Sergeant Garza deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM with Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command-Central 3-7 serving as the Team First Sergeant and as an advisor embedded with the 1st Kandak (Infantry), 2d Brigade, 201st Corps of the Afghan National Army in eastern Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Upon return from Afghanistan, First Sergeant Garza was assigned as the Company First Sergeant for Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division.
Returning to the United States in 2011, First Sergeant Garza was assigned to 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), Camp Lejeune, NC for duty as a Marine Special Operations Company First Sergeant. First Sergeant Garza then served as the Battalion (Rear) Sergeant Major when the battalion headquarters staff deployed as Special Operations Task Force-West to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Sergeant Major Garza posted as the Sergeant Major, Headquarters and Support Battalion, School of Infantry-East in September 2013.
Sergeant Major Garza’s personal decorations include the Bronze Star with 2 Combat V’s and 1 gold star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal with 1 gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 1 gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with 2 gold stars and the Combat Action Ribbon with 1 gold star. He and his wife Brandy have one son, Gabriel.