Lieutenant General Karsten "Hazel" Heckl assumed command of I Marine Expeditionary Force on 31 July 2020.
A native of Stone Mountain Georgia, Lieutenant General Heckl graduated from Georgia State University and was commissioned in April 1988. He was designated an unrestricted Naval Aviator in September 1990.
Lieutenant General Heckl commanded Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162, which included a combat tour in Iraq in 2008 and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in 2010. From June 2018 to July 2020 he served as the Commanding General, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.
As a CH-46E pilot, Lieutenant General Heckl deployed with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 365 and HMM-263, and served as a CH-46E Instructor and Division Head at MAWTS-1, MCAS Yuma, AZ. Additionally, he was assigned as one of the initial cadre of pilots with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204).
Staff assignments include CH-46E and MV-22 Requirements Officer, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) Aviation Department, Washington DC; J3 Director of Operations, United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), Kabul, Afghanistan; Senior Military Assistant and Marine Aide to the Secretary of the Navy; Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation, HQMC Aviation Department, Washington DC; Chief of Staff, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), Lisbon, Portugal.
Lieutenant General Heckl is a distinguished graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) and the Naval War College.