Keynote Address: A Crisis Leadership Presentation - 24 Hours Inside the President's Bunker; 9/11/01: The White House
Lieutenant Colonel Darling retired from the United States Marine Corps with just over twenty years of active-duty service in October 2007. He flew Cobra attack helicopters in Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the first Gulf War and in Somalia, Africa in support of Operation Restore Hope. In June 1998, he was selected to fly as a presidential pilot with Marine Helicopter Squadron One and in October 2000, he was selected to work for The White House Military Office, Airlift Operations Department. It was in that capacity that, then Major Darling supported the President, Vice President and National Security Advisor in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) on September 11, 2001.
On September 11th 2001, Lieutenant Colonel Darling was working in the White House Military Office and was initially tasked to coordinate airlift assets for the President’s evacuation to an undisclosed site. However, he was quickly recruited to provide his military expertise and became a key liaison between the Vice President, National Security Advisor and the Pentagon and worked directly with the National Command Authority to respond to the terrorist attacks. Lieutenant Colonel Darling witnessed firsthand the enormity of the crisis leadership decisions that were made that day on behalf of all Americans.