Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Heller received his Marine Corps commission 26 May 2001 following graduation from Allentown College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree while majoring in Criminal Justice.
Following The Basic School and Communications Information Systems Officer Course, he was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in January 2003. During this tour, First Lieutenant Heller participated in one deployment: Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom from February – October 2003.
In August 2005, First Lieutenant Heller executed PCS orders to Norfolk, Virginia for duty at Fleet Information Warfare Command (FIWC). He was immediately assigned to the Operations Division. He was promoted to Captain 1 October 2005.
In January 2006, he deployed as the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the now Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC), Norfolk detachment to First Marine Expeditionary Force Forward (IMEF (FWD)) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07. He was the Assistant Operations/Plans Officer for the I MEF G-3/IO cell. He returned to CONUS in September 2006 and was assigned as the NIOC-N Maritime Operations Center Information Operations Cell Operations Officer.
In December 2007, Captain Heller deployed to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) where he was assigned to the N39 Information Operations Cell. He served as the Information Operations Planner for NAVCENT participating in numerous Theater Security Cooperation operations planning teams. He returned to CONUS in June 2008 where he immediately executed orders to Expeditionary Warfare School, Quantico, Virginia.
Captain Heller graduated from the Expeditionary Warfare School and the Advanced Communications Officer Course 1-09 in Quantico, Virginia in June 2009 and was subsequently assigned to Officer Candidates School where he served two cycles as a summer augment Platoon Commander. Captain Heller departed Officer Candidates School in August 2009 with orders to IMEF, Camp Pendleton, California.
Immediately upon checking into IMEF, he was reassigned to the IMEF (FWD) G6 and began workups for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) 10.1 and 10.2. Captain Heller served as the Assistant Operations Officer from September 2009 to May 2011 to include a year deployment to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
Upon his return from his year deployment in Afghanistan, Captain Heller executed PCA orders to Headquarters Battalion, First Marine Division, where he assumed command of Communications Company on 03 June 2011. He was promoted to the rank of Major on 01 November 2011. During his 25-month tenure as Company Commander, Major Heller and his Marines participated in four Division level exercises, provided over 200 Marines in support of OEF deployments and individual augments, and supported over 150 communications missions through the Division Network Operations Center. Major Heller relinquished command of Communications Company on 03 July 2013 with follow on orders to attend the Marine Corps’ Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia.
Upon Major Heller’s graduation from Command and Staff College, he immediately executed PCS orders to Communication Training Battalion, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, Twentynine Palms, California. Major Heller served as the Communication Training Battalion Operations Officer from June 2014 to May 2015. On 27 May 2015, Major Heller assumed command of Bravo Company, Communication Training Battalion. On 16 August 2016, Major Heller relinquished command and assumed the duties of the Communication Training Battalion Executive Officer.
On 5 July 2017, Major Heller executed PCA orders to Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California and served as the Assistant Chief of Staff G-6. Major Heller and his staff supported multiple Integrated Training Exercises, Mountain Training Exercises and Large Scale Exercises providing communications support enabling commanders to command and control across the range of military operations. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 3 April 2018.
His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of 2nd award, Navy Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of 5th award and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.