Leaders
Chief of Staff, Third Marine Aircraft Wing
Colonel Eric Garcia

Colonel Eric Garcia attended New Mexico State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant through the Platoon Leaders Course in February 1994. Upon Completion of The Basic School he reported to Marine Aviation Training Support Group, Naval Air Station Pensacola for flight training and was designated a naval aviator in December 1996. He then reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 204 for training in the CH-46E. Upon completion of training, he reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 (HMM-162) where he served as a current operations officer and squadron Weapons and Tactics Instructor, deploying twice with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

 

Following his second deployment, he reported to Marine Corps Base Quantico to attend Amphibious Warfare School. After graduation in June 2002, he returned to HMM-162 where he served as the Director of Safety and Standardization (DoSS) and deployed with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). In September 2003 following his return from OIF, he joined Marine Medium Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 to begin the transition to the MV- 22B Osprey. While there, he served as the Logistics Officer, Information Assurance Officer, and Family Readiness Officer. Following the successful operational evaluation of the MV-22B, he transferred to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 to serve as the Future Operations Officer.

 

In March 2006, he reported to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 where he served as the DoSS participating in the squadron’s transition from CH-46E to MV-22B. In September 2007, he deployed in support of OIF 06-8.2 under 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq. Following his return from deployment, he transferred to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 where he served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer during the squadron’s transition from the CH-46E to MV-22B. In November 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM under Marine Aircraft Group 40 and then under 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.

 

After this deployment, he transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 16 (MAG-16) in preparation for assumption of command. Prior to assuming command, he served as the MV-22B Transition Training Unit Officer in Charge. In December 2011, he assumed command of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 where he led the squadron through its transition from CH-46E to MV-22B. He relinquished command in June 2013 and transferred to the Naval War College. Upon graduation, he reported to Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO in Lisbon, Portugal where he served as the Joint Targeting and Effects Branch Head. Colonel Garcia was promoted to his present rank in July 2017 as he reported for duty at 2d Marine Division where he served as the Deputy G-3 and subsequently as the Assistant Chief of Staff G-3. Colonel Garcia assumed command of MAG-16 on 19 July 2019 and is relinquishing command on 16 July 2021.

 

His personal decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat “V,” Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Air Medal with Strike/Flight Numeral “13,” Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Joint Service Achievement Medal.

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing