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    New officer takes charge of Legal Services Support Section - West

    New officer takes charge of Legal Services Support Section - West

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Hope Straley | U.S. Marine Col. Mark Schnakenberg, the regional officer in charge of Legal Services...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Hope Straley 

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    Rules and laws promote fairness and justice in any society or organization. The Marine Corps is no different. Legal Services Support Section - West is responsible for aiding commanders in implementing the rules and laws to promote good order and discipline among all Marines and sailors located on Marine Corps installations on the West Coast.

    Marine Col. Mark T. Schnakenberg, the new regional officer in charge at LSSS-West, has been involved with that process for 20 years.

    While he was a senior at Iowa State University, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in the Marine Corps. An older friend from his hometown was a Marine staff sergeant and Schnakenberg would often have conversations about the Marine Corps with him. At that time, he decided he wanted to pursue military life.

    In May1998, Schnakenberg graduated from Iowa State. He was commissioned in August 1998 after completing Officer Candidate School. He then began working toward his law degree at Drake University in the fall of that same year. The decision to pursue law was a clear choice for Schnakenberg.

    “I was doing very well in school at Iowa State and law school was the next logical step on my path,” Schnakenberg said. “I got really invested in the challenge of law school and many of those same challenges have kept me engaged in the field to this day.”

    After he graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Drake University in 2001, he went on to complete The Basic School and Naval Justice School in 2002.

    His career has been filled with various duty stations, schools, and deployments. The first half of Schnakenberg’s career was heavily focused on litigation. Schnakenberg spent approximately five of his first ten years on active duty litigating cases.

    “In the early years, when I wasn’t training recruits or on deployment, I was litigating cases either as a trial counsel or a defense counsel,” said Schnakenberg. “I think it is very important to take the time to learn the military justice practice because it’s our core mission. It will serve one well in the non-litigation billets that are typically held later on the normal career path of a judge advocate.”

    One of Schnakenberg's most rewarding assignments, outside the court room, was during his two-year period as a series commander and company commander at 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruiting Depot San Diego, California.

    “Some of our best Marines are selected for drill instructor duty and it was truly an honor to serve alongside some of the finest individuals in our ranks for those two years,” Schnakenberg commented.

    After approximately 17 years of service, he transferred to Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, and took command of the installation’s security battalion. He held that command from 2017 to 2019.

    “Getting selected for battalion command was a massive honor,” Schnakenberg said. “I was in charge of the provost marshal's office, fire department and the dispatch center. That organization was working 24/7 every day, and it was very challenging given the tax on personnel and some of the threats in the area."

    Following his fast-paced assignment in Quantico, in July 2019 Schnakenberg attended Marine Corps War College and graduated in June 2020. There he received the Foreign Area Officers Association Award for International Affairs. This award is given to individuals who demonstrated acuity in accelerated academic research, and advanced writing on modern political and international affairs during the 2019-2020 academic year. Schnakenberg feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend MCWAR.

    “The MCWAR faculty are excellent and some of our finest officers have attended the school,” Schnakenberg stated.

    Schnakenberg was serving as the staff judge advocate at 1st Marine Division from July 2020 until he was reassigned in July 2021 to take over LSSS-West, and he looks forward to the challenges the new assignment will bring.

    “It should be a great experience,” said Schnakenberg. “Overall, being in this job field has been an amazing experience. To this day, I still keep in contact with some of the people I’ve worked with that departed service many years ago, and I look forward to what the future has in store.”



    Date Taken: 09.13.2021
    Date Posted: 10.21.2021 23:27
    Story ID: 405134
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON , CA, US 

    Web Views: 131
    Downloads: 0