After 30 years as Marines, married sergeants major retire on the same day


Talk about a motivated marriage. On July 26, Sgts. Maj. Bradley and Holly Prafke retired in a joint ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.

The Prafkes’ commitment to the Corps goes almost as deep as their commitment to each other: They retired with 30 years of service apiece under their belts, and they were together for 27 of those years. They met, according to news reports, in Camp Pendleton, Calif., when he was a lance corporal and she was a corporal.

Cpl. Martin Egnash
Sergeants Major Holly and Bradley Prafke made history by retiring together after having served in the Marine Corps for 30 years each during a dual retirement ceremony at the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29 flight line, July 26. The Prafkes are the first Marines to reach the rank of sergeant major together and retire at the same ceremony.

Bradley Prafke relinquished his last post, that of sergeant major for Marine Aircraft Group 29, during the ceremony. Holly Prafke relinquished her post at Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron Cherry Point, N.C., in April.

Marine Corps Photo

“We have been to schools together, the Drill Field, mounted color guard, a unit together and we will retire together,” Holly Prafke wrote in an email to Marine Corps Times.

Sgt. Maj. Holly C. Prafke cradles the coveted sword of office before passing it to Sgt. Maj. David G. Eldridge during a relief and appointment ceremony April 26. //Marine Corps

But because of deployments, training and other factors, the Prafkes spent only 16 years physically together, she said.

Despite the hardships, the two retired with pride in their legacy and their service to the Marine Corps.

“We are proud of our accomplishments to include marriage,” Prafke wrote. “I see us as an example for others that are dual active duty.”

According to the Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., the Prafkes were honored with certificates of achievement from President Barack Obama at their retirement ceremony. Bradley Prafke was pinned with the Legion of Merit, while Holly Prafke received the Meritorious Service Medal.



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  1. Pingback: After 30 years in, married Marines retire on same day — OFFduty+

  2. SSgt(ret) Gregory Cooper on

    I don’t know if she will get this but she and I were stationed together in Japan and Camp Johnson. Wish her the best of luck in retirement.

    Semper Fi

  3. Semper Fi to the both of you Quite an achievement I spent a number of years in the crotch back in the sixties and seventies was with G2/7 in Viet-Nam and 1/6 at camp Lejune I wish you both the best of luck.ooooorahhhh

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