Sergeant Major McElearney entered the Marine Corps on 19 March 1990. Upon graduating from Recruit Training Depot, Parris Island and Infantry Training School as a Basic Infantryman (0311) he reported to NW Chesapeake, VA for Basic Security Guard School.
He served with the Marine Corps Security Forces Company Naples, Italy from November 1990 to June 1992 as a Security Guard, and Corporal of the Guard. Sergeant Major McElearney reported to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines (3/8) and served as a Rifleman, Automatic Rifleman, Fire Team Leader, Squad Leader, and Platoon Guide from June 1992 to October 1995. During his time in 3/8 he deployed on the 26th and 24th MEUs, and participated in operations in Haiti.
Upon reenlistment, Sergeant McElearney reported to II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG), Amphibious Raids Branch for duty as Instructor of MEU Amphibious Raids, Over the Horizon Navigation, Coxswains of the Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) and the Rigid Raiding Craft (RRC) from October 1995 to January 1999.
Staff Sergeant McElearney then reported to DI School, Parris Island, South Carolina. Upon graduation he served with “C “ Company, First Recruit Training Battalion. The billets held there were Junior Drill Instructor, Experienced Drill Instructor, and Senior Drill Instructor from January 1999 to April 2002.
Staff Sergeant McElearney served from May 2002 to December 2005 with 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 29 Palms, CA. as Platoon Sergeant, Company Gunnery Sergeant, and Company First Sergeant. He participated in two deployments during this time; Okinawa for UDP, and OIF II.
From December 2005 until July 2007, Gunnery Sergeant McElearney was an Instructor, Chief Instructor, and SNCOIC of the Sergeant’s Course at the SNCO Academy, Camp Pendleton, CA, where he was selected to First Sergeant.
In July 2007, First Sergeant McElearney reported to 2d Battalion, 11th Marines for duty as a Battery First Sergeant. He deployed in support of OIF 8.2 for 13 months as a Civil Affairs Group First Sergeant. Upon returning from Iraq, First Sergeant McElearney assumed the position of Headquarters Battery First Sergeant.
In February of 2011, First Sergeant McElearney reported to CLB 5, 1st MLG for duty. He was later selected to fill the billet of Sergeant Major for CLB 15, 1st MLG.
In November of 2011, First Sergeant McElearney was selected to his current rank of Sergeant Major. On January 12, 2012 he assumed the position of Battalion Sergeant Major, 7th ESB, 1st MLG. In October 2013, Sergeant Major McElearney reported to VMA-231, 2D MAW, Cherry Point as the Squadron Sergeant Major. In July 2015, Sergeant Major McElearney reported to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14 for duty as the Squadron Sergeant Major.
He assumed his current post as MCAS Cherry Point Sergeant Major on July 28, 2017.