Colonel R. L. Grabowski enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1975 and after graduating from high school in southeast Iowa, he attended Marine Corps recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, CA in the summer of 1976.
Completing recruit training, he was directed to report to the Infantry Training School at Camp Pendleton, CA and upon completion, PFC Grabowski was promoted to Lance Corporal and reported for duty with Company “K,” 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan.
In August 1978, Corporal Grabowski was reassigned to MCRD San Diego, where he served as both Assistant Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor. In August of 1980, Sergeant Grabowski left the Marine Corps in order to attend college.
In June 1983, Grabowski was selected to attend the Platoon Leaders Course in Quantico, Virginia. In May 1984, he graduated from Northeast Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Marines.
In the summer of 1984, Second Lieutenant Grabowski reported for duty to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and upon graduation he attended the Infantry Officers Course and was designated an Infantry Platoon Commander.
Lieutenant Grabowski’s first infantry assignment was with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines where he served in billets ranging from Weapons Platoon Commander, Rifle Company Executive Officer, Weapons Company Executive Officer and Headquarters and Service Company Commander.
In August 1989, Captain Grabowski was assigned to the School of Infantry, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he served as a training company commander in both Marine Combat Training Battalion and Infantry Training Battalion. He also served as the Schools Chief Instructor and eventually as Company Commander for the Advanced Infantry Training Course, which trained both infantry platoon sergeants and squad leaders for combat.
In August 1992, Captain Grabowski attended the U.S. Army Advanced Infantry Officer’s Course in Fort Benning, Georgia and was reassigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. During his tour as the battalion’s operations officer, Captain Grabowski participated in Operation Uphold Democracy as a member of Special Purpose MAGTF Caribbean in and around Cape Haitian, Haiti.
In July 1995, Captain Grabowski was reassigned as the Operations Officer for the 2nd Marine Regiment. In August of 1996, Major Grabowski attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and in August 1997 he was selected to command Recruiting Station Cleveland, Ohio. After successfully completing his tour on recruiting duty he returned to the Second Marine Division in September 2000 were he was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division and served as the Deputy AC/S for Readiness and as an Assistant Operations Officer for the Division.
In December 2001 Lieutenant Colonel Grabowski took command of 1st Battalion, 2d Marines. During this assignment his battalion participated in combat actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Shortly after returning from Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Grabowski was selected for top-level school at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and in September 2004 he was assigned to U.S. Joint Forces Command and served as the Accreditation and Certification Group Chief and Assistant Chief of Staff for Experimentation at the Joint Warfighting Center, J-7.
Promoted in January 2006, Colonel Grabowski was screened and selected to command the 1st Marine Corps Recruiting District from June 2006 to July 2009. Upon completion of this command assignment Grabowski was selected to be the Eastern Recruiting Region/Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Chief of Staff.
After 34 years of military service, Colonel Grabowski retired from active duty on 1 September 2014. He currently resides in Fort Madison, Iowa with his wife Barbara and youngest son Joseph.