5th Marine Regiment Command Desk
Meet the Commanding Officer and Sergeant Major
Colonel Kenneth R. Kassner Commanding Officer, 5th Marine Regiment
A Texan born and raised, Colonel Kassner commissioned via the Naval ROTC program as a Second Lieutenant in July 1991. After graduating with Honors from The Basic School and completing the Infantry Officers’ Course, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, where he served as a Rifle and Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Executive Officer in Company G and deployed with the 11th MEU (Special Operations Capable) in support of contingency operations to Somalia.
From 1995 to 1998, Captain Kassner made Marines at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot--San Diego, where he served as a Series and Company Commander and as the Recruit Training Regiment’s Assistant Operations Officer. After graduating from the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Warfare School with Honors in 1999, he transferred to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines and commanded Company G during its deployment with the 26th MEU(SOC) throughout the Mediterranean Sea region and the Balkans. Upon returning from that deployment, he became the Battalion’s Operations Officer and was promoted to Major.
In July 2001, Major Kassner was assigned to the University of Texas at Austin Naval ROTC program as the Marine Officer Instructor. In May 2004 he returned to the 1st Marine Division as the Executive Officer, 3d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion--the WOLFPACK. As the Battalion’s XO, he completed two combat deployments in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
In November 2006 he reported to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, where he promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as the Chief of Training/Operations.
In July 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Kassner returned to 3d LAR Battalion as the Commanding Officer. In 2009 he led the Battalion during its final deployment to Iraq, then, in 2010 he made his fourth consecutive deployment with the WOLFPACK, leading the Battalion in combat throughout the southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
In June 2011, he reported to the U.S. Army War College. Following graduation in July 2012, he assumed the duties as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G8 (Programming and Requirements) at the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC). In September 2013 he promoted to the rank of Colonel.
In June 2015, Col Kassner assumed duties as the Commanding Officer of the Fifth Marine Regiment.
Colonel Kassner studied German at the University of Texas at Austin, completed a degree in Political Science at the University of Houston, earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of San Diego, and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (3rd award) with Combat Distinguishing Device for Valor, the Purple Heart Medal (2nd award), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2nd award), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon (2nd award), and several expeditionary and campaign medals.
Sergeant Major Chuong T. Nguyen Sergeant Major, 5th Marine Regiment
Sergeant Major Nguyen is a native of Saigon, Viet Nam. He arrived in America as a refugee in 1988. In 1993, he enlisted in the Marine Corps through the Delay Entry Program and subsequently attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego with Bravo Company, First Recruit Training Battalion in August 1994. Upon graduation from Recruit Training, Private Nguyen was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class and reported to School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, California for training as a rifleman.
In 1995, Private First Class Nguyen reported to 3d Battalion, 3d Marines in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for duty with Kilo Company. He deployed to Okinawa, Japan in the summer of 1995 and during this time attended the Infantry Squad Leader Course where he graduated as a Distinguished Graduate. Upon returning from his first deployment, Lance Corporal Nguyen was meritoriously promoted to Corporal in 1996. During the remaining of his tour with 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, Corporal Nguyen deployed to Australia in support of Exercise Gold Eagle and again deployed to Okinawa, Japan in the winter of 1996.
Upon returning from deployment in 1997, Corporal Nguyen volunteer to “cross deck” to 1st Battalion, 3d Marines for duty with Charlie Company as a Rifle Platoon’s Guide. Promoted to Sergeant in 1997, he attended the Sergeant Course at MCB Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and graduated as the Honor Graduate. In early 1998, Sergeant Nguyen again deployed to Okinawa, Japan for the Unit Deployment Program. This time, his platoon was choose to be the Ship’s Security Platoon for the USS Independence and deployed to the Arabian Sea in support of Operation Southern Watch.
After the deployment with 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, Sergeant Nguyen was nominated and selected to be an Instructor and Advisor for the Corporal’s Course at MCB Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii from January 1999 to February 2000. During his time at the Corporal Course, Sergeant Nguyen was responsible for mentoring and training over 900 Corporals. In March 2000, Sergeant Nguyen volunteered and received orders for Drill Instructor duty at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California.
Upon graduating from Drill Instructor School as the Honor Graduate and also was the recipient for the Leadership Award, Sergeant Nguyen reported to First Recruit Training Battalion for duty with Bravo Company as a Drill Instructor. As a new Drill Instructor, he was the recipient of the Gunnery Sergeant Nichol’s Award as a resulted of his intense work ethic from his 1st cycle. Sergeant Nguyen was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 2001 and was selected to serve as a Senior Drill Instructor. During this time, he was selected to be the Senior Drill Instructor of the Quarter for the Recruit Training Regiment. In the winter of 2002, he was selected to serve as a Series Gunnery Sergeant and was subsequently meritoriously promoted to Gunnery Sergeant in January 2003.
After a successful tour of duty with training recruits, Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen again reported to 3d Battalion, 3d Marines in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for duty with Kilo Company; this time as the Weapons Platoon Sergeant. He deployed with Kilo Company from August 2003 to January 2004 and was attached to the 31st MEU. Upon returning to Hawaii, he was selected to be the Company Gunnery Sergeant for Kilo Company. From June to July 2004, Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen deployed to Australia a second time for Exercise Gold Eagle. Returning from Australia and with a short training cycle, he then deployed to Gardez, Afghanistan in the winter of 2004 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon returning from deployment in June 2005, Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen attended the Advance Course at Camp Pendleton, California and graduated as a Distinguished Graduate. He was selected to First Sergeant in November 2005 and subsequently frocked before reporting to India Company for duty as the Company First Sergeant in January 2006. From March to October 2006, First Sergeant Nguyen deployed with India Company to Haditha, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After another successful and challenging tour with 3d Battalion 3d Marines, First Sergeant Nguyen received orders to Combat Service Support Group 3 (CSSG-3), 3d Marine Logistics Group in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. From March 2007 to October 2008, First Sergeant Nguyen served as the Company First Sergeant for Maintenance Company, Support Company, and Headquarters Company. During this time, CSSG 3 was re-designated to Combat Logistics Battalion 3. First Sergeant Nguyen received orders in the winter of 2008 for duty with Golf Company, 2d Battalion, 23d Marines in Los Alamitos, California.
From November 2008 to February 2011, First Sergeant Nguyen served as the Inspector-Instructor First Sergeant. In March 2011, Sergeant Major Nguyen was frocked to his current rank and report for duty with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 in San Diego, California.
During his tenure with the “Aces”, Sergeant Major Nguyen had the opportunity to return to Afghanistan in September 2012. In April 2013, he attended the Senior Enlisted Professional Military Education and in September 2013, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wayland Baptist University earning a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education.
In March 2014, Sergeant Major Nguyen reported for duty as the Battalion Sergeant Major for 1st Battalion, 1st Marines aboard Camp Pendleton, California. He deployed with the “Ready to Fight” Battalion to Okinawa, Japan in October of the same year as part of the Unit Deployment Program.
In May 2015, Sergeant Major Nguyen reported to 5th Marine Regiment where he is currently serving as the Regimental Sergeant Major.
Sergeant Major Nguyen’s personal decoration and awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and three gold stars in lieu of fourth award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with silver star in lieu of six award; and various other unit and service awards.
About the 5th Marine Regiment Command Desk
The 5th Marine Regiment is comprised of a Command Deck, Headquarters Company and 4 Battalions which might, at any one given time, constitute 4,000-5,000 Marines. Until such time as any one of the 5th Marines 4 Battalions, Command and/or the Headquarters Company are deployed, each are located at Camp Pendleton.
When the 5th Marine Command and Headquarters Company are deployed in a Combat Zone they are then referred to as Regimental Combat Team Five or RCT-5. The CO retains Command over each of his four Regimental Battalions while he is deployed. An In-Country Tour for RCT-5 is normally 12 months or more. For the Units under that Command structure, their Tour is normally 7 months. These combat elements may come from other Regular or Reserve Units here in the States or elsewhere, and the CO may, during his Tour not Command any one of his 4 Battalions while In-Country.
The 4 Battalions which comprise the 5th MAR are the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines (1/5), 2/5, 3/5, and 2/4. All, including the Command are located at Camp Pendleton in Area 62 or Camp Mateo. This compound is located just inside the Christianitos Gate.