Commanding Officer, Recruiting Station Chicago
Major Branden Koonce
Recruiting Station Chicago

Major Branden Koonce enlisted into the delayed entry program in 2001 and graduated recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on 6 September 2002. Following Marine Combat Training, he attended Basic Combat Engineer School at Camp Lejeune, NC and then joined 7th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) at Camp Pendleton, CA.


During the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he participated in the assault breach of the Iraqi/Kuwaiti obstacle belt in direct support of Task Force Tarawa. From 2004 to 2006, he served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with 7th ESB, and under tactical control of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during numerous named operations including Vigilant Resolve, Liberty Express, and Green Trident. As a Squad Leader, he attended multiple schools and training exercises, including the Combat Engineer Journeyman Course at Camp Lejeune and Mountain Warfare Training at Bridgeport, California.


He attended Illinois State University and, in 2009, earned a B. S. in Business Management and Organizational Leadership. In June 2011, he reported to Officer Candidates School. He earned his commission in August 2011, graduating the Officer Candidates Course with distinction. In March 2012, he graduated Basic Officer Course at The Basic School, earning distinction with placement on the Commanding General’s Honor List.


In April 2012, he joined 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton, CA and then completed Military Police Basic Officer Leadership Course (MP BOLC) in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In August 2012, he graduated MP BOLC with distinction, designated as the Second Lieutenant Mathew S. Coutu Distinguished Honor Graduate as well as the First Lieutenant Timothy E. Price Leadership Award recipient. As a Platoon Commander, he participated in multiple large-scale exercises, including multinational amphibious exercise Dawn Blitz, supporting 2nd Battalion 5th Marines during the exercising of complex amphibious ship-to-shore operations in Southern California. He went on to serve as Executive Officer, Company A, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion.


In October 2013, he reported for temporary duty at 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), where he assumed the billet of 3rd MAW Antiterrorism and Force Protection (AT/FP) Officer. In June 2014, he deployed with Marine Aircraft Group – Afghanistan (formerly 3d MAW Forward) to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 14.2. He oversaw all security and force protection measures for the Aviation Combat Element during the retrograde of Marine Corps forces from Helmand Province.


From January to April 2015, he attended Basic Police Officer Course at Marine Corps Police Academy (West), earning distinction as the recipient of the course Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness Awards. After selection for career level school, in October 2015 he graduated as the Distinguished Honor Graduate and class Leadership Awardee at MP Captain’s Career Course. In December 2015, he earned his M. A. in Business and Organizational Security Management from Webster University of Saint Louis.


In January 2016, he joined 2nd Recruit Training Battalion aboard MCRD Parris Island where he served as a Series Commander with Company E and as Executive Officer, Company H. In December 2016, he assumed command of Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion and served as Company Commander until March 2018 when he was selected to serve as Assistant Director, Drill Instructor School, MCRD Parris Island.


From July 2019 to June 2021, he served as Operations Officer, Provost Marshal’s Office, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa Japan. In June 2021, he was assigned as the Deputy Provost Marshal, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, managing a department of over 700 Marines, civilians, and Japanese nationals and coordinating daily with host nation officials. He participated in multiple iterations of Exercises Constant Vigilance and Keen Sword, supporting base defense in Okinawa as well as U.S. and Japan joint/bilateral capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.


From July to December 2022, he served as a Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow with the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance in Washington D.C. In January 2023, Major Koonce assumed command of Recruiting Station Chicago.


Major Koonce’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (x2), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (x2), and Combat Action Ribbon.

9th Marine Corps District