Sergeant Major Lerma was born in Canoga Park, California. He enlisted in the Marine Corps 8 August 1999 and attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, CA and graduated on 5 November 1999. Upon graduation, Private First Class Lerma reported to Marine Combat Training (MCT) at Camp Pendleton, CA. After MCT he reported to Fort Knox, KY where he received the military occupation of 1812 Tank Crewman. In May 2000, he reported to Company D, 1st Tank Battalion where he served as a tank crewman and held the positions of Driver, Loader, Gunner and Tank Commander and achieved the ranks of Lance Corporal, Corporal and Sergeant. In November 2001, he deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In January 2003, he deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In September 2003, he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. On April 2006, he reenlisted in the Marine Corps and received orders to Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462 (HMH-462), Marine Air Group 16 (MAG 16), where he served as an Airframe Mechanic and the Airframes Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (SNCOIC). In April 2008, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was promoted to the Rank of Staff Sergeant. In July 2009, he was redeployed to Iraq and subsequently to Afghanistan in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. After his deployment, he reported to Drill Instructor School in San Diego, CA. In December 2010 he graduated Drill Instructor School and was assigned to India Company where he served as a Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor, Chief Drill Instructor, Company First Sergeant and was meritoriously promoted to the rank Gunnery Sergeant. In February 2014 he received orders back to the Fleet Marine Force and was assigned to HMH-361, MAG-16, where he served as the SNCOIC of the Airframes shop and also the Squadron Gunnery Sergeant. In May 2014 his unit deployed to Okinawa Japan, where he was assigned as the Squadron Maintenance Control Chief. Soon after returning from deployment, he received orders to MAG-16 HQ Squadron where he served as the Squadron First Sergeant. While at MAG-16 HQ, he submitted for Assistant Marine Officer Instructor (AMOI) duty and was selected to serve at the United Stated Naval Academy (USNA). On May 2016 he reported to the USNA where he served as the Senior Enlisted Leader for 9th Company. Following his selection to First Sergeant, November 2017, he was awarded the military occupational specialty of 8999 and transferred to 2nd Marine Division 3rd Battalion 8th Marines where he served as the Company First Sergeant for Weapons Company and Kilo Company. In September of 2018 his battalion was deployed to Norway in support of Marine Rotational Force Europe. Upon their return, his company was selected to work with the Marine Corps War fighting Lab on “Project Metropolis”. In March 2020 he was transferred to 2d Marine Divisions “Ace in the Hole”, 2d Tank Battalion and served as the Company First Sergeant for Companies Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Head Quarters and Service. Upon the divestment of 2d Tank Battalion, he received orders to Okinawa Japan 3d Marine Division, 12th Marine Regiment where he served as the Head Quarters Battery First Sergeant. In May 2022, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major and was reassigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 4. Sergeant Major Lerma’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 3 gold Stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with 2 gold star, and Combat action ribbon.