Sergeant Major Sara Noemi Lopez was born in El Salvador, migrated to the United States in 1988, and grew up in La Puente, California. On 26 June 2001, she enlisted into the Marine Corps and graduated boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina on 21 September 2001.
On 3 October 2001, she reported for Marine Combat Training (MCT), at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. PFC Lopez completed MCT and was joined to Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Lejeune, NC for Personnel Administration school. Upon graduation on 13 December 2001, she earned the Military Occupational Skill (MOS) of 0121-Personnel Clerk. PFC Lopez reported to Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, CA and was joined to Marine Air Group-16 on 15 December 2001. While at MAG-16, PFC Lopez was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal, and soon after meritoriously to Corporal, and subsequently to Sergeant.
On 15 February 2005, Sgt Lopez was transferred and joined to Consolidated Personnel Administration Center (CPAC), MAG-39, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, CA. On 28 January 2008, Sgt Lopez was attached to I Marine Expeditionary Force and was deployed to Camp Fallujah, Iraq in Support of Operation Iraq Freedom. On 1 March 2008 while still in Fallujah she was promoted to Staff Sergeant. While deployed, she volunteered and participated in several Iraqi Women's Engagement mission's outside the wire.
Upon return from Iraq on 8 August 2008, CPAC had consolidated to Installation Personnel Administration Center (IPAC) and was assigned to Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, CA. SSgt Lopez served as the Outbound section Admin Chief. SSgt Lopez submitted and was approved for Marine Security Guard duty as a Detachment Commander.
SSgt Lopez arrived at Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, Quantico, VA for training as a Detachment Commander and successfully graduated on 9 October 2009. SSgt Lopez's first Detachment Commander Assignment was at Nassau, The Bahamas. While stationed in Nassau, she attended Command Conferences in San Jose, Costa Rica; Lima, Peru; and Key West, Florida. SSgt Lopez successfully completed her tour in Nassau and received the award of Most Improved Detachment within Region 9. She was transferred in March 2011 to Tel Aviv, Israel.
On 27 March 2011, SSgt Lopez arrived and was the first female Detachment Commander ever to serve at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. While in Tel Aviv, she attended conferences in Pataya, Thailand and Frankfurt, Germany. While in Israel, she was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant on 1 April 2012. She successfully completed her tour and was transferred to Quantico, Virginia.
GySgt Lopez arrived to Quantico, VA on 20 September 2012, where she served as the Administration Chief for Aviation/Ground Officer Monitor Command, Manpower Management Officer Assignments (MMOA-2), Manpower and Reserve Affairs. While in Quantico, GySgt Lopez was selected for promotion to the rank of First Sergeant, and requested orders to Okinawa, Japan.
First Sergeant Lopez served within 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3d MLG, in Okinawa, Japan from August 2015 to August 2018. She served as the Company First Sergeant for Bulk Fuel Company from August 2015 to April 2016; Engineer Support Company from April 2016 to October 2017; stood up Bridge Company and served from October 2017 to August 2018. In addition, while serving as Company First Sergeant for Bridge Company, she took on the role of Company First Sergeant for H & S Company within 9th ESB from May to July 2018. On 15 August 2017, First Sergeant Lopez was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from by the American Military University on Sports and Health Sciences with a concentration on Exercise Science.
First Sergeant Lopez reported to 1st Transportation Support Battalion, CLR-1, 1st MLG on 22 August 2018 and was assigned to Motor Transport Company A. On 8 July 2020, she was Frocked to the rank of Sergeant Major and executed PCA orders to stand up 1st Landing Support Battalion, CLR-1, 1st MLG.
Sergeant Major Lopez's personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with 3 gold stars.