Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Robert’s four combat deployments as an infantryman include a historic tour to Sangin, Afghanistan, with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in 2010 and 2011 when his battalion took more casualties than any other U.S. unit in the Afghanistan war.
“We had to constantly bring it in and have group discussions and make sure that everybody was still sane, mentally and physically, just from the things that were going on around us: People getting hurt, friends,” Robert said. “It was just an all-around bad place.”
Since July 2013, Robert has been based out of Marine Barrack Washington, D.C. His job with the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon has involved selecting the Marines for the team and then spending 30 days in Yuma, Arizona, perfecting the drill sequence performed around the country.
Almost all of the members of the Silent Drill Platoon are first-term Marines, but Robert manages to inspire them to look and perform as if they had spent years in the Corps.
“I do not ever yell,” Robert said. “Being a leader and being a Marine, that’s a hard trait to have. As you know, especially in the infantry, we’re very loud; we’re very outspoken. All of the Marines around me — to include higher and lower — they all know when I’m upset.”
He’s spent more than 10 years doing volunteer work with the Special Olympics that has included coaching a bowling team, setting up for events and partnering with Special Olympics athletes as they run through the competition. These days at Marine Barracks Washington, Robert often runs into Commandant Gen. Robert Neller at the gym and says he is inspired by Neller’s efforts to lead by example by staying in shape.