LtCol O’Neal assumed his duties as Commanding Officer, 15TH Marine Expeditionary Unit, 27 June 2013.
He was born and raised in Southfield, Mich. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University and was commissioned via the Platoon Leaders Course program in 1990. After completing The Basic School, he attended flight school and was designated a naval aviator.
As a CH-46 pilot, his operational flying tours include service with HMM-165, HMM-262, HMM-265 and HMM-162. He participated in a variety of deployments including a Unit Deployment Program to Okinawa, four Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) deployments in WESTPAC, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade deployment for the invasion of Iraq and numerous other deployments in support of exercises and theater security cooperation engagements as a CH-46 pilot. His operational tours also include executive officer of 15TH Marine Expeditionary Unit, which included another WESTPAC/CENTCOM deployment; executive officer of 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, which included two deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Lieutenant Col. O’Neal has served on staff at multiple levels of command, including future operations officer, MAG-36; plans, policies, and doctrine officer (N5), Expeditionary Strike Group Two; and joint working group lead within the Global Force Management Branch of the Operations Directorate, US Joint Forces Command. He has also served as a staff platoon commander, tactics instructor, air officer at The Basic School and as the operations officer and flight instructor at Helicopter Training Squadron 18.
Lieutenant Col. O’Neal is a graduate of The Basic School, Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the Joint Forces Staff College and the Air War College. Additionally, he holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration, a Master of Science in Management and undergraduate degrees in environmental engineering and history.
Lieutenant Col. O’Neal’s awards include the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device “V”, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (second award), Air Medal with Strike Flight numeral “6”, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals (fourth award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and numerous campaign and unit awards. He is also a qualified military parachutist.