HPS Alumni Spotlight: Lieutenant Colonel Marcus O'Neal

Lieutenant Colonel Marcus O’Neal is a 1998 graduate of Hattiesburg High School and served as Cadet Battalion Commander of the Tiger Battalion. He graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Southern University in 2002, entering active service as an Armor Officer. Following the Armor Officer Basic Course and Scout Platoon Leader’s Course, he was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry (CAV) Regiment, deploying as a CAV Scout Platoon Leader, leading reconnaissance and surveillance operations in Iraq. He later served as a Support Platoon Leader and CAV Troop Executive Officer. In 2006, Marcus transitioned into the Military Intelligence (MI) branch and, after completing the Captain’s Career Course, was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, deploying as an Intelligence Advisor supporting the 11th Iraqi Army Division in Baghdad, Iraq. 

Upon redeployment, he was assigned as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Georgia Tech. Next, LTC O’Neal was assigned to Headquarters, 8th Army (Yongsan, South Korea) as an Intelligence Officer in the Current Operations directorate, subsequently serving as Commander, Headquarters Detachment, Army Support Element-Korea. After command, Marcus attended the National Intelligence University (Washington D.C), earning a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence immediately after completing the Command & General Staff Operations Course. In 2014, Marcus was assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps (Fort Bragg, NC), serving as Deputy Chief of the Analysis & Control Element and later deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, as an Intelligence Planner supporting ISAF Joint Command.

Upon redeployment, LTC O’Neal was assigned as S-3, Operations Officer, 519th Expeditionary-MI Battalion (Thunder), as the battalion transformed from the Battlefield Surveillance design to the Expeditionary MI unit design. His subsequent assignments were as the 525th Expeditionary-
MI Brigade (Lightning) Executive Officer and Brigade Operations Officer included a deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan, to assume responsibility for the ODIN (Observe, Detect, Identify, Neutralize) mission. In 2018, Marcus was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (Pentagon), as a Plans Officer and provided Executive Officer support to the Director of the Army’s Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Directorate. Most recently, Marcus was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff, Army, serving as Policy Strategist in the Executive Strategy Group and later as an Executive Officer supporting the Office of the Director of the Army Staff. LTC O’Neal has been selected for command of the 103rd Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Battalion, the Army’s newest intelligence formation, which will officially activate in September 2022. 

LTC O’Neal’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 1 combat C-device and 3 oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with 3 oak
leaf clusters, Army Staff Identification Badge, and Combat Action Badge. LTC O’Neal is married to his wife, Latrise. They have two children, Christian and Amber, and reside in Fort Stewart, GA.