Lt. Col. Robert Darling

Lt. Colonel Robert Darling, had a first-hand perspective inside the White House on 9/11 as the tragedy occurred. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of the attacks, and the vivid memories of that day are seared into his consciousness.


Military, Patriotic

Full Bio

In October 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Darling retired from the United States Marine Corps with just over twenty years of active duty service. He flew 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 handpicked to work for the White House Military Office, Airlift Operations Department. It was in that capacity that Lt. Col. Darling supported the President, Vice President and National Security Advisor in the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) on September 11, 2001. In May 2002, he attended the Naval Postgraduate School where he earned his MBA in Financial Management and subsequently served as a Program Manager for the Chief of Naval Operations supporting the Department of the Navy Flying Hour Program.

Bob is the author of “24 Hours Inside the President’s Bunker, 9/11/01: The White House, the President of the MOAA Heritage Chapter in Quantico, VA., and a vice president for Business Development for Zenetex, an IT Service Management company located in Herndon, Virginia.

 9/11 Tribute featuring Robert J Darling

24 Hours Inside the President's Bunker, by LtCol Robert Darling, presents a riveting eyewitness, chronological account of the minute-by-minute drama that unfolded beneath the White House during the 9/11 attack. Ordered to evacuate the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Darling ran past grim-faced Secret Service Agents to the President’s Emergency Operations Center, located under the White House. His first order—“Answer the phones” — brought him face- to-face with the grim reality. “We have a hijacked plane sixteen miles south of Pittsburgh, inbound for Washington DC,” blurted out a nameless voice from the upstairs Situation Room. Within minutes, Darling heard Vice President Cheney order the Pentagon to “…stand by to shoot this plane down!”

Darling’s account reads like an episode of 24—except the events of 9/11 were not the plot details of a Hollywood thriller, but real, told in living color. He reveals for the first time, the actual dialogue among the participants—Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush—and describes their decision making: “Authorized to engage all inbound aircraft to Washington DC.” 24 Hours Inside the President’s Bunker transforms existing stereotypes of the country’s top leadership, particularly of Vice President Cheney, described by Darling as no ordinary politician, but a warrior. It offers an important description of events for all Americans who want to know what their leaders knew, when they knew it, and the unprecedented actions they took to defend us.

Search Speakers


Contact Us