Gunnery Sergeant Monica Preston (nee Richards) enlisted into the Marine Corps in April 2005. She attended recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina and Marine Combat Training in Camp Geiger, North Carolina. Upon graduation, she attended the Basic Music Course at the Naval School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia.
Lance Corporal Richards reported to the Quantico Marine Corps Band in March 2006 where she served as a clarinet instrumentalist and Training NCOIC. During her time there, she was promoted to the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant.
In April 2009, Sergeant Richards reported to the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band. While there, she served as Clarinet Section Leader, Woodwind Section Commander, Administration NCO, and earned the additional military occupational specialties 0933 and 0931 and augmented the Marine Corps Rifle Team in the summer of 2011. She was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Staff Sergeant Preston was selected to attend the Unit Leader Course in Norfolk, Virginia in January 2013. Throughout the course, she studied instrumental conducting, arranging, and mace technique as part of the Drum Major curriculum. Upon graduation, Staff Sergeant Preston reported to the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band, where she served as the Assistant Enlisted Conductor, Assistant Drum Major, and the Administration SNCOIC.
In September 2016, Staff Sergeant Preston attended the Senior Musician Course in Norfolk, Virginia. Throughout the course, she studied advanced instrumental arranging techniques, instrumental conducting, and was officially selected for her current billet, Drum Major.
Upon graduation, Staff Sergeant Preston reported to the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing Band for service as the Drum Major. In addition to her ceremonial duties, she served as the SNCOIC of the Administration, Operations, Embarkation, and Transportation sections. She was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
In April 2019, Gunnery Sergeant Preston won the audition to serve as the Assistant Drum Major of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band at Marine Barracks Washington. Her ceremonial duties included Full Honors Funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, Enhanced Cordons at the Pentagon, and the Friday Evening Parades. Additionally, she served as the unit’s Company Gunnery Sergeant and trained the incoming members of the Marine Band.
In September 2022, Gunnery Sergeant Preston returned to the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band, where she currently serves as the Drum Major.
Prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps, Gunnery Sergeant Preston graduated from Perry High School in Massillon, Ohio and The University of Akron, where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education, graduating Magna cum Laude. In December 2021, she completed an Advanced Professional Certificate online through the Berklee College of Music.