BETHANY, W.Va. – 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 Bethany College at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in Steinman Auditorium.

Lt. Col. Robert J. DarlingLt. 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 terror attacks.

Lt. Col 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.” He will autograph copies after the lecture.

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

Lt. Col. Darling 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 longtime Bethany English professor and renowned Hemingway Scholar Larry Grimes. He spent 39 years teaching students to learn from and love literature, and in 2014 Dr. Grimes personally delivered the inaugural lecture.

Founded in 1840, Bethany is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of the liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.