News | Jan. 7, 2016

DLA Aviation first sergeant promoted to top Marine Corps enlisted rank

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

It was standing room only in the McKeever Auditorium Jan 5 as Defense Logistics Agency Aviation employees gathered in a ceremony honoring Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Phu Cao’s promotion to the rank of master gunnery sergeant.

Cao began his Marine Corps service in 1994 as a recruit in Paris Island, South Carolina and is currently serving as the senior non-commissioned officer-in-charge for DLA Aviation’s Customer Operations Directorate’s Marine Aviation Cell of the Navy Customer Facing Division.

Cao has the distinction of being the first Marine promoted to the rank of master gunnery sergeant, the highest Marine Corps enlisted rank, while serving a joint assignment at DLA Aviation in Richmond, Virginia.

Cao said he didn’t accept the promotion and associated responsibilities lightly, but rather, he accepted after considering whether or not he was still up to the physical challenges demanded by the Corps.

“I appreciate the support and guidance of family members, fellow Marines and senior leaders as I made this decision.  I look forward to continuing to support DLA Aviation and our Marines,” said Cao.

DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day attended the ceremony, and shared a few thoughts with Cao and the audience.

Day commented on the Oath of Office Cao took during the ceremony.  

“It is the same oath we all take,” Day said as he congratulated Cao. “The oath is taken deeply. It is at our core, it is what we chose to do. I admire Cao’s decision to accept the promotion; even more so because the Marine Corps is a young bunch; they run hard and their leaders need to lead from the front.”

Day said as an E9, Master Gunnery Sgt. Cao is at the ‘top’ and part of an elite, exclusive group within the Marine Corps.

“Master Gunnery Sergeant Cao will be helping to set the vision and course for the Marine Corps. He will be guiding the Corps and through this joint assignment broadening the Corps’ knowledge and impact,” Day said.