Sgt. Maj. Chet H. Houston is originally from Arkansas City, Kansas, and graduated from Arkansas City High School in May 1988.
Upon completion of recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in February 1989, Houston attended the Basic Engineer Operators Course at Camp Lejeune, N.C. After completion in June 1989, he was transferred to Landing Support Equipment Company, 3rd Landing Support Battalion, for duty as a heavy equipment operator. In June 1990, Houston was transferred Camp Lejeune to serve with LSE Co., 2nd LSB, and deploy with in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Upon his return from Desert Storm, Houston, now a corporal, served as a squad leader and platoon sergeant before being transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in June 1993. During the majority of this tour, Houston worked as the squadron’s ground operations officer.
In June 1996, Houston, now a sergeant, completed Drill Instructor School at MCRD San Diego and began work there with Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment. He served as a drill instructor for five platoons and a senior drill instructor for an additional three platoons.
In August 1999, Houston, now a staff sergeant, was transferred to Marine Corps Base, Okinawa, Japan, for duty as the load test director at the base’s safety office. He was also given the collateral duties as a motorcycle safety instructor at the Motorcycle Safety Course on Kadena Air Base in Japan.
During July 2002, Houston, now a gunnery sergeant, was assigned as the company gunnery sergeant for Support Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, and remained there until January 2004.
In January 2004, Houston transferred to the Staff Noncommissioned Officer’s Academy in Okinawa, Japan, and served as an instructor and faculty advisor for three classes before being reassigned as the course chief instructor. As the chief instructor, Houston taught an additional eight classes before being selected to the rank of first sergeant.
After his selection, Houston was given orders to the inspector and instructor staff in Battle Creek, Mich. In this billet, Houston was responsible for two separate reserve companies, Engineer Support Company and Bridge Company Alpha.
Houston was transferred to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines Regiment, based at Marine Corps Base, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in April 2008, and deployed as the company first sergeant for I Company to the Al Anbar province of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In December 2009, Houston assumed the duties as the battalion sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. The sergeant major deployed to the Nawa district in the Helmand province of Afghanistan from October 2010 until the battalion’s return in June 2011.
Houston detached in September 2011, and reported to MCRD Parris Island, S.C., the Support Battalion sergeant major. In September 2013, Houston assumed his current billet as the Recruit Training Regiment’s sergeant major.
Houston’s personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon. He graduated with honors from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in management studies.