Lt. Col. Donald G. Maraska was born in Lubbock, Texas. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in May 1989, completed boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif. From 1989-1993, he was a reconnaissance Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion serving in Desert Storm with Task Force Ripper and in Somalia with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). Maraska was honorably discharged in 1993.
He graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelors of Science in Economics and was commissioned a Marine Corps second lieutenant in April 1996.
Upon completion of The Basic School, he selected aviation with follow on training in Pensacola, Fla., and Corpus Christy, Texas. He began training in August 2000 in the KC-130.
While assigned to VMGR-352, Maraska served in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Upon returning from OIF, Maraska was selected for transition to the MV-22 Osprey.
Maraska requested and was granted orders to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, to serve as an air officer with follow on orders to training in the MV-22. While assigned to 1/5, Maraska deployed to Okinawa, Japan, and further deployed to Al Anbar, Iraq, as a forward air controller. While in Iraq, he participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve.
Due to injuries sustained in Iraq, Maraska was ordered to attend the Naval Postgraduate School where he studied manpower systems analysis and graduated in 2007 with orders to Headquarters Marine Corps, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
From 2007-2009, Maraska served as the officer promotion planner, aviation inventory planner, and officer in charge of the Officer Plans Section. From 2009-2010, he served as the aide-de-camp for the deputy commandant of Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
In 2010, Maraska was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands program. From 2011-2012 he was assigned to Headquarters International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan, and focused primarily on economic development. From 2012-2014, Maraska was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan, to continue efforts in the Afghan mining and petroleum sectors.
Maraska’s personal decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat “V”, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with the numeral 4, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon with star, and Good Conduct Medal.
Maraska is married has two children.