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Commanding Officer, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion
Lieutenant Colonel Nathan K. Knowles

Lieutenant Colonel Knowles grew up in Alba, Texas and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on May 14 2004, having completed his undergraduate education in Construction Science at Texas A&M University on an NROTC Scholarship. Upon Completion of The Basic School in 2004 he reported to 2d Combat Engineer Battalion in route to the Combat Engineer Officer Course at Marine Corps Engineer School.  Following graduation, he was assigned as 2d Platoon Commander, Company A, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion.

His platoon attached to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and deployed from February through September 2006 to Al Qaim, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 5-7. Upon return from deployment, LtCol Knowles was assigned as Company Commander, Company B, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion.

In June 2007, LtCol Knowles was transferred to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) One in Gulfport, Mississippi as a part of the Engineer Exchange Program.  He was assigned as the Assistant Operations Officer and Intelligence Officer for the Battalion and completed a second deployment to Ramadi, Iraq in support of OIF where his team identified threat trends and worked with special forces to target insurgents who were exploiting the boundary seam between Multi-National Division - Baghdad and Multi-National Forces - West.

Following his return from deployment he was reassigned to Charlie Company Commander, NMCB One, where he served until summer 2009 when he was selected to lead a detachment from the Battalion on an additional 10 month deployment to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the Southern Philippines in support of Joint Special Operating Forces  - Philippines (JSOTF-P) Foreign Internal Defense (FID) mission and Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF-P). 

LtCol Knowles returned from the Philippines in May 2010 and reported to the Expeditionary Warfare School in June.  Upon graduation in May 2011, he was assigned to 3d Combat Engineer Battalion as Company Commander of  Alpha Company.  He deployed his company in support of Regimental Combat Team 5 (RCT-5) to AO Guadalcanal as a part OEF 11.2.  LtCol Knowles transferred to TTECG following his returned from OEF 11.2 in June 2012 and served as Coyote 13, the senior Engineer Officer, from 2012-2014.  In May 2014, LtCol Knowles executed orders to Marine Corps Logistics Operations Group (MCLOG).  He immediately deployed to Liberia as a part of Operation Onward Liberty (OOL) to develop the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as a part of post-civil war recovery efforts to develop the Liberian Military capability and capacity when the 2014 Ebola outbreak began.  He led the initial military response on the ground working with numerous NGOs designing and building Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Liberia and leading all design team site survey’s across the country with the AFL Engineer Company. 

Following the deployment, LtCol Knowles served as Faculty Advisor and Planning Module Manager at MCLOG.  During this time he completed a Masters in Adult Education from Auburn University.  In June 2016 he executed orders to the Naval War College Command and Staff and was selected as one of five U.S. students to be embedded in the international program, Naval Staff College.  As a part of this program he and his family spent the year traveling the country as a part of the NWC International Field Studies Program as the Marine Corps' ambassador. He graduated the NWC in June 2017 with a.

LtCol Knowles reported to 1st CEB in July 2017 and served as the Operations Officer from July 2017 to June 2018 and as the Battalion Executive Officer from 2018 to 2019 when he executed orders to the School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW).

He graduated from SAW in May 2020 and executed orders to Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory as the lead planner in the G35.  In this capacity he led and contributed to Force Design 2030 concept development and designed Service experimentation integration of exquisite kill webs with combined and joint forces.

LtCol Knowles personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Joint Service Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf in lieu of second award, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars in lieu of fourth award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and Philippine Civic Action Medal.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Construction Science from Texas A&M University, a Master of Arts in Adult Education from Auburn University, a Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and a Master of Arts in Operational Studies from the School of Advanced Warfighting.

LtCol Knowles married his college sweetheart, the former Lindsey Phinney of Spring, TX in 2003.  They live on base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and have 3 teenage children: Brooklynn, Kylee, and Caleb.