Maj. Richard Stinnett
After two combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Zachary Rubart imagined a new assignment as platoon sergeant for the famed Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon in Washington would present a different kind of challenge.
But on Sept. 16, 2013, while Rubart was training on the Marine Barracks Washington parade deck, reports of an active shooter next door at Washington Navy Yard brought all his infantry experience and combat training into focus. Without wasting a moment, Rubart assembled a handful of Marines into a quick reaction force and took off for the armory, his ceremonial sword still strapped to his side.
Once armed, Rubart and his Marines teamed up with the law enforcement officers to clear several rows of buildings and secure the home of the chief of naval operations and the other flag officers who lived there.
"Because we came off looking like we reacted the exact way we were supposed to, he kind of helped us develop a
[standard operating procedure]," said 1st Sgt. Michael Brown, Rubart's senior enlisted supervisor.
Rubart, 31, is this year's Military Times Marine of the Year. He was selected based on his proven leadership in high-stakes situations, his commitment to improving himself and his Marines on and off-duty, and his long record of community service.
Now the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Security Force at the White House Communications Agency out of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, Rubart supervises about 50 Marines who travel with the president for security and support.
Off the clock, Rubart works hard to keep his Marines involved in their community, organizing volunteering opportunities to mentor children of fallen troops, assist veterans in need and feed the homeless. During his previous assignment as an instructor at the School of Infantry out of Camp Geiger, North Carolina, Rubart volunteered more than 100 hours to coach youth soccer.
Rubart also earned his bachelor's degree in management from American Military University in May, on top of his full-time job and caring for his two children.