From there I was told I needed to go
Headquarters Marine Corps. I had
not done a headquarters tour.
But what happened was MARSOC [Marine Corps Forces Special
Operations Command] stood up.
The first commanding general was
General [MajGen Dennis] Hejlik. I
talked to General Hejlik and he
wanted me to come down and be his
J- 4, because of my SOF experience.
But the powers that be said no.
But then it turned out that the
deputy Hejlik was going to bring in,
he couldn’t bring in. So he then
asked for me by name to be his
We went down to MARSOC. I
learned so much from [MajGen
Hejlik]. And there’s no doubt I
wouldn’t be a general officer if it
wasn’t for him.
From MARSOC, I was selected
for command, as colonel. I stayed
at Lejeune and went over to
Combat Logistics Regiment 27 as
the CO. The general at the time
decided I was to go forward with
him. I had to give up my regiment
to be his chief of staff forward.
I went forward as his chief of
staff for a year deployment to Iraq.
Our mission was to close out Iraq.
Halfway through the deployment,
the general redeployed and I kind
of went back to Combat Logistics
Regiment 27 as CO forward. We
were the last Marine regiment in
Iraq. Kind of closing down FOBs
[forward operating bases]. It was
all about retrograde.
At the same time that we were
doing that, General [BGen Law-rence] Nicholson was going into
Afghanistan and building up. So
we were able to send support and
stuff that we had in Iraq and help
them build up into Afghanistan.
So I spent a year in Iraq. That
was my third tour in Iraq, my fifth
combat deployment. We closed out
Iraq, literally. I came home and I
was selected during that time for
I thought I was going to go
down for three more years to
Beaufort, S.C., my last tour and
retire. I was kind of surprised, I
was selected and I was assigned to
the National Military Command
Center in the Pentagon. They have
a flag or general officer on duty
because of the nuclear mission. All
the things that happened during
that year and a half I was up there,
Arab Spring, North Korea, you
name it. A lot of stuff happened.
I did a joint tour as a general officer. I worked for two different generals. The first was Gen [John]
Paxton, who was the J- 3. The other
was Gen [Robert] Neller. Two great
leaders in the Marine Corps. I got to
learn from some of the best.
From there, I was told to go be
commanding general Marine Corps
Installations West. That was at a
time when they were going to
merge and change things around.
When I got here I took command of
both the Marine Corps Base, Camp
Pendleton, also the region. My wife
and I found it extremely rewarding.
We got to stay here and the com-
mandant assigned me to the 1st
Marine Logistics Group, where I am
now, back with the operating force.
Since we’re drawing down in
Afghanistan, we’re trying to get back
to an expeditionary Marine Corps —
agile, ready to go. We’re really, really
drilling in that expeditionary, ready
to go, back to basics. The comman-
dant calls it the “reawakening.”
We’ve learned so much over the
last 12 years. I think, especially com-
ing in as a logistician, motor trans-
port, we heard that every Marine’s a
rifleman. We go to Basic School and
we pride ourselves on being a
Marine first, and whatever our MOS
is second. The last 12 years, we’ve
proved ourselves, Marine combat
logistics patrols. I’ve had Marines
who’ve been in as many gunfights as
the combat landing team. We don’t
want to loss those skills, those
PROFILES IN SERVICE
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 30 SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
Coglianese pins a Purple Heart on his son, Ferdinand Coglianese, a Marine veteran,
Sept. 28 in Schwenksville, Pa. While deployed with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion,
2nd Marine Division, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, LCpL Coglianese was
wounded by an improvised explosive device on a routine combat logistics patrol.