Sergeant Major John M. Kennedy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June 1993 and reported to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, South Carolina where he graduated as a private first class in September 1993. Following graduation from recruit training he reported to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to attend the Marine Combat Training Course followed by the Rifleman’s Course. He was subsequently assigned as an 0311 to 2d Marine Division.
Private First Class Kennedy reported to 1st Battalion 6th Marines, in January 1994 and was assigned as a rifleman in Company A. After quickly proving to be an asset to the command he was given the responsibility of automatic rifleman. In June 1994, he was meritoriously promoted to lance corporal and was made a fire team leader. In August 1996 he was promoted to corporal. In February 1998 he was again promoted and as a sergeant was reassigned to Company C as a squad leader.
In January 2001, he reported to Drill Instructor School, MCRD, Parris Island, South Carolina and upon graduation in April, he reported to Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment where he served as a drill instructor. He was recognized as the 2d Recruit Training Battalion Drill Instructor of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2001. In the second quarter of 2001, after serving as a drill instructor in 2048, 2000, 2080, 2048, 2080 series, he was assigned on “quota” to Support Battalion to serve as a martial arts instructor. In this position he was selected to attend the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Trainer Course. Sergeant Kennedy was the honor graduate of hi class and returned to Leatherneck Square to teach recruits in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. After completing a 15-month quota he returned to Company F to serve as a senior drill instructor for 2000, 2032 series. In the first quarter of 2003, he was selected as the Senior Drill Instructor of the Quarter. In June 2002, he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of staff sergeant.
Upon completion of his drill instructor tour, Staff Sergeant Kennedy reported to the Light Armored Reconnaissance Leaders Course in June 2003. Upon graduation in August, he reported to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, where he served as a platoon sergeant, platoon commander, and company operations chief in Company B from August 2003 to February 2006. After completing this tour he received orders to Quantico, Virginia.
Staff Sergeant Kennedy was assigned to Ground Training Branch, Training and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia to be an Infantry, Light Armored Reconnaissance task analyst. In April 2006 he was promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant and immediately received TAD orders to Officer Candidate School for summer augmentation as a sergeant instructor. After completing his summer duty, he returned to Ground Training Branch to continue his tour as the Infantry, Light Armored Reconnaissance task analyst. In April 2008 Gunnery Sergeant Kennedy received TAD orders back to Officer Candidate School to serve as a platoon sergeant in Echo Company. After completing his duties he returned to Ground Training Branch to continue his tour as the Infantry, Light Armored Reconnaissance task analyst. In April 2009 he was promoted to first sergeant (Frocked) to fulfill TAD orders to Officer Candidate School to serve as the Company First Sergeant for Alpha Company. After completing his duties he returned to Ground Training Branch. In August 2009 First Sergeant Kennedy received orders to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion where he served as the Company First Sergeant for Company C. In July 2012 First Sergeant Kennedy received orders to 8th Communication Battalion where he served as the Company First Sergeant for Headquarters Company and General Support Company.
First Sergeant Kennedy was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major in January 2014 and was transferred to Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467. In May 2016, Sergeant Major Kennedy was transferred to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366, Marine Aircraft Group 29, Cherry Point, NC where he currently serves as the Squadron Sergeant Major.
Sergeant Major Kennedy’s awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V (third award), Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon (third award), Joint Service Meritorious Unit Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal (second award), Good Conduct Medal ( sixth award), National Defense (second award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with bronze stars, Kosovo Campaign Ribbon with Bronze star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Service Ribbon, Korean Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Ribbon (second award), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon ( sixth award), Drill Instructor Ribbon and NATO Ribbon (third award).