David H. Berger
Gen. David H. Berger.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Born (1959-12-21) December 21, 1959 (age 63)
Dover, Delaware, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1981–present
Commands held
Alma mater

David Hilberry Berger (born December 21, 1959) is a United States Marine Corps general who has served as the 38th commandant of the Marine Corps.[1]

Since his commissioning in 1981, Berger has served in a variety of command and staff billets, including his participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.[2]

Early life and education

David Hilberry Berger was born on December 21, 1959.[3][4] He is a native of Woodbine, Maryland.[5] He graduated from Glenelg High School in 1977.[6]

Berger holds a BSc in engineering from Tulane University,[7] and two Master's degrees, one in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University, and the other in Military Studies.[8][9][2]

Berger's formal military education includes the United States Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course, United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and United States Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting. He is a graduate of the United States Army Ranger School, United States Army Jumpmaster School, United States Navy Dive School, and United States Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance School.[8][9]

Marine career

Berger was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1981 via NROTC following graduation from Tulane University with a degree in engineering.[3] As a lieutenant and captain, he served as rifle platoon commander in India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division and later as a company commander and battalion operations officer in 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion during Operation Desert Storm. He also served as officer selection officer in Roanoke, Virginia.

As a field grade officer, Berger was an instructor at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in Yuma, Arizona; instructor at III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Special Operations Training Group; and served on the Joint Staff as a policy planner in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, J-5.

Berger commanded 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines from 2002 to 2004, deploying the battalion first to Okinawa, and later to Haiti in support of Operation Secure Tomorrow. As a colonel, Berger commanded Regimental Combat Team 8 in Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

While serving as assistant division commander of 2nd Marine Division, Berger was appointed to the rank of brigadier general. He then deployed to Kosovo, where he served for one year as chief of staff for Kosovo Force (KFOR) Headquarters in Pristina. From 2009 to 2011 he served at Headquarters Marine Corps as the director of operations in plans, policies, and operations. In 2012 he deployed to Afghanistan as the commanding general of 1st Marine Division (forward) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Berger served as commanding general of Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center from 2013 to 2014. In July 2014, Berger was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and assumed command of I Marine Expeditionary Force.[10] He subsequently assumed command of United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. On August 28, 2018, Berger assumed the billets of Commanding General of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration.

On March 26, 2019, he was nominated by President Donald Trump to succeed General Robert B. Neller and become the 38th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.[11][12][13] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 5, and took command in a ceremony held July 11 at the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C.[14]

On July 17, 2019, Berger issued his guidance for the Marine Corps: "The Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG) provides the 38th Commandant’s strategic direction for the Marine Corps and mirrors the function of the Secretary of Defense’s Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). It serves as the authoritative document for Service-level planning and provides a common direction to the Marine Corps Total Force."[15] Highlights include refocusing the Marine Corps on high-end combat, shifting away from legacy platforms like tanks and artillery in favor of long-range missiles and drones.[16][17]

In February 2022, Berger was the keynote speaker for the 67th MSC Student Conference on National Affairs at Texas A&M University.[18]

Berger's term as commandant is scheduled to end on July 10, 2023.[19]

Awards and decorations

USAF - Occupational Badge - Scuba.svg
U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia-redone.png
Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon.svg
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal ribbon.svg
Korea Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Silver star
Silver star
Bronze star
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg
USMC Rifle Expert badge.png
USMC Pistol Expert badge.png
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal (2).svg
SCUBA Diver Badge
Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia
Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit with Combat V Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal with one gold award star
Joint Service Commendation Medal Navy Commendation Medal with award star Combat Action Ribbon with award star Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze service stars Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation with three service stars National Defense Service Medal with service star Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal with three service stars Kosovo Campaign Medal with service star Afghanistan Campaign Medal with service star Iraq Campaign Medal with two service stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal Humanitarian Service Medal with service star Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with ten service stars
Marine Corps Recruiting Service Ribbon NATO Medal Non-Article 5 for the Balkans with service star Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Expert Rifle Badge (5th award) Expert Pistol Badge (2nd award)
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge


  1. ^ Miller, LCPL Thomas (August 9, 2018). "Lt.Gen. Berger relinquishes command to Lt.Gen. Craparotta". Press Release. Marine Corps Base Hawaii, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "I Marine Expeditionary Force Leaders: Lieutenant General David H. Berger". www.imef.marines.mil. Archived from the original on December 3, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Jambalaya (PDF). Tulane University. 1981. p. 420. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "Commandants". www.usmcu.edu.
  5. ^ Friel, Lucian (May 24, 2007). "Woodbine, Md. native promoted to brigadier general in Marine Corps". 2nd Marine Division. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Trobridge, Tracy (May 2, 2019). "Glenelg grad reaching highest levels of Marines". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  7. ^ "Impression: David Berger" (PDF). Tulanian. Tulane University: 44. September 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Harkins, Gina (March 27, 2019). "Lt. Gen. David Berger Tapped to Lead Marine Corps". Military.com. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Kenney, Caitlin (March 27, 2019). "Lt. Gen. David Berger nominated as next commandant of the Marine Corps". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  10. ^ McAvoy, Audrey (Associated Press) (August 26, 2016). "New Pacific Marine leader vows to keep up work with allies". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  11. ^ Snow, Shawn (March 27, 2019). "Former recon Marine Lt. Gen. David H. Berger nominated to be next Marine Corps commandant". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "President Trump nominates next Commandant of the Marine Corps". Press Release. United States Marine Corps. March 27, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  13. ^ "PN528 — Lt. Gen. David H. Berger — Marine Corps". www.congress.gov. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Snow, Shawn (July 10, 2019). "Lt. Gen. David H. Berger will become Marine commandant Thursday ― on the Corps' other birthday". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  15. ^ "38TH COMMANDANT'S PLANNING GUIDANCE CPG". Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  16. ^ "Early Experiments are Proving Out Tank-Free Marine Corps Concept". USNI News. February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  17. ^ Gordon, Michael R. (March 22, 2020). "WSJ News Exclusive | Marines Plan to Retool to Meet China Threat". Wall Street Journal.
  18. ^ Weaver, Morgan. "67th MSC SCONA conference focuses on national security". kbtx.com. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  19. ^ Harris, Bryant; Losey, Stephen; Eckstein, Megan (June 9, 2023). "Joint chiefs vacancies loom amid Tuberville's Senate stand off". Defense News. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
Military offices Preceded byGeorge W. Smith Jr. Commanding General of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 2013–2014 Succeeded byLewis A. Craparotta Preceded byJohn A. Toolan Commanding General of the I Marine Expeditionary Force 2014–2016 Commanding General of the United States Marine Corps Forces Pacific 2016–2018 Preceded byRobert S. Walsh Commanding General of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command 2018–2019 Succeeded byEric Smith Preceded byRobert Neller Commandant of the Marine Corps 2019–present Incumbent Order of precedence Preceded byChristopher W. Gradyas Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Order of precedence of the United Statesas Commandant of the Marine Corps Succeeded byJames C. McConvilleas Chief of Staff of the United States Army