Sarah Culbertson was born in Chicago, Illinois. After attending Tulane University and graduating with a degree in psychology and a minor in economics, she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in May 2006. Upon completion of The Basic School and Marine Corps Engineer School, Second Lieutenant Culbertson was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) at Camp Pendleton, as a platoon commander.
As a lieutenant, she deployed to Iraq as a platoon commander, served briefly as the S-3 Training Officer for 7th ESB, and then returned to Iraq to serve as the Battle Captain for Multi-National Corps. After her second deployment, First Lieutenant Culbertson became the company commander for Engineer Support Company, 7th ESB. Upon concluding her company command tour, she deployed to Afghanistan as the G-3 Engineer Officer, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward).
As a captain, she served as Company Commander, Engineer Maintenance Company, and Battalion Operations Officer, 1st Maintenance Battalion; future operations officer, Combat Logistics Regiment 1; and Team Leader, Civil Affairs Detachment, I Marine Expeditionary Force. As a Civil Affairs Team Leader, she completed a deployment to Belize in support of U.S. Southern Command, and a humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) mission to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. She also served as Marine Officer Instructor, George Washington University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, in Washington, D.C.
As a Major, she served as the Protocol Officer to the Commandant of the Marine Corps; the 1st Marine Division Engineer Officer; Executive Officer, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion; and I MEF Engineer, where she was promoted to her current rank.
Lieutenant Colonel Culbertson holds a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University. Her personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with four Gold Stars, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.