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Retired Marine Officer to Give Bethany’s Annual Grimes Lecture

BETHANY — A retired U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel, who witnessed decision-making by top U.S. officials on Sept. 11, 2001, will deliver the Larry E. Grimes Lecture at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 28 in Bethany College’s Steinman Hall.

Lt. Col. Robert J. Darling retired from the Marine Corps in 2007 with more than 20 years of active-duty service that included piloting attack helicopters in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and serving as a presidential pilot with Marine Helicopter Squadron One.

In October 2000, he was selected for the White House Military Office’s Airlift Operations Department, a position that supported President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the underground President’s Emergency Operation Center on the day of 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Darling chronicled the leadership and decision-making of the top U.S. officials on that day in his book, “24 Hours Inside the President’s Bunker, 9/11/01: The White House.”

As a speaker on crisis leadership and decision-making, he has addressed such organizations as Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Darling, a resident of Stafford, Va., is the president and CEO of Turning Point Crisis Management.

The Larry Grimes Lecture Series is part of the annual Bethany Homecoming celebration and is free to attend.

The annual lecture honors Grimes, a longtime Bethany English professor and renowned Hemingway scholar. He spent 39 years teaching students to learn from and love literature. In 2014, he delivered the inaugural lecture.

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