Sergeant Major Gerardo Banda Jr. is a native of Indiana. He attended high school in Orlando, FL and enlisted into the Marine Corps on 5 November 2001 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, SC. Upon completion of recruit training, he reported to Marine Combat Training (MCT), Camp Geiger, NC followed by the Administrative Clerk Course in Camp Johnson, NC earning the Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) 0151. Private First Class Banda then reported to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
On 18 November 2003, Lance Corporal Banda reported to his second command, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 (HMH-363). From November 2003 to July 2004, Corporal Banda served as the Administrative Chief, a billet normally filled by a seasoned Sergeant. His professional knowledge and leadership ability allowed him to fulfil a critical billet in which he was transferred on 14 July 2004 to Marine Corps Recruiting Station Des Moines, IA serving as an Operations Clerk in the critical “plus up” phase to reach 202K Marines by fiscal year 2008.
Sergeant Banda was then transferred to 3d Battalion, 12th Marines, Okinawa, Japan. In November 2008, Staff Sergeant Banda filled yet another critical role, stepping outside his primary MOS to assume the role as Team Chief and Advisor to the 1st Kandak, 3d Brigade, 201st Corps Afghan National Army. His steadfast leadership and tactical expertise allowed him to lead and advise over forty-five missions and several engagements with the enemy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In August 2010, Staff Sergeant Banda was then transferred to MCRD San Diego to attend Basic Recruiter Course. Upon graduation he was then assigned as a Production Recruiter to Marine Corps Recruiting Station Kansas City. During August 2012, Staff Sergeant Banda, being hand selected, was assigned to Recruiting Sub-Station Olathe Kansas. July 2013, Gunnery Sergeant Banda was then transferred to Marine Attack Squadron 231, Marine Aircraft Group 14, MCAS Cherry Point, NC. During his tenure with Marine Attack Squadron 231, Gunnery Sergeant Banda held the billet of Administrative Chief and Squadron Gunnery Sergeant. His impacts on the squadron and steadfast leadership directly impacted the readiness and ability to execute two Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments and one deployment in support of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command deployment.
In May 2017, First Sergeant Banda was transferred to assignment as Company First Sergeant, 1st Tank Battalion, Company D. In May 2018, First Sergeant Banda was reassigned as the Company First Sergeant for Headquarters and Service Company. January 30, 2019, First Sergeant Banda was reassigned to 3d Battalion, 11th Marines as the Battery M First Sergeant.
In June 2020, First Sergeant Banda was transferred to assignment as Company C First Sergeant, 8th Communication Battalion, Camp Lejeune, NC. On 3 December 2020, he was frocked to his current rank of Sergeant Major and transferred to Marine Attack Squadron 542. On 20 December 2021, he was reassigned to his current billet of Sergeant Major for Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302.
Sergeant Major Banda’s personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/Combat Distinguishing Device and 2 gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/4 gold stars and the Combat Action Ribbon.