Marine Instructor, Master Gunnery Sergeant Michael H. Gardner, USMC (Ret)

Marine Instructor, Daniel Boone High School Marine Corps JROTC

Master Gunnery Sergeant Michael H. Gardner is the Marine Instructor of the Daniel Boone High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He is the former Drum Major of "The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. He was the sixteenth Marine to serve in this position and has the distinction of having the longest tenure as Drum Major. He was born December 10, 1956, in Kingsport, Tennessee, the son of Orval H. and Rita A. Gardner. His family moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, where he attended local public schools and graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 1975.

Gardner enlisted in the Marine Corps on November 11, 1974 and reported for recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina in July 1975. Following recruit training, he was assigned to the Field Music School at the Recruit Depot. After completing the course for soprano buglers at Field Music School, he was transferred to the 1st Marine Division Drum and Bugle Corps at Camp Pendleton, California.

In August 1978, Gardner was assigned to the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., as a soprano bugler. He also served in additional billets as the supply and procurement chief and as an instrument repair technician.

In April 1984, Gardner was transferred to the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twenty-nine Palms, California, where he served as Drum Major for the Center's Drum and Bugle Corps. During this assignment, Gardner was the youngest full time drum major in the United States Marine Corps. He returned to "The Commandant's Own," on April 30, 1987, to serve as a lead soprano bugler and supply and procurement chief for the corps. In July 1988, he was assigned the duties as the Drum Major for "The Commandant's Own."

Gardner was promoted, meritoriously, to Master Sergeant on July 2, 1992, by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and was promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant on February 1, 1995. Gardner's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, The Navy Unit Commendation ribbon, four Marine Corps Unit Citation ribbons, seven Good Conduct Medals and the National Defense Medal.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Gardner and his wife, the former Virginia Kay Gibson of Kingsport, Tennessee, reside in Gray, Tennessee. The Gardner's have two children, Michael (wife Misti) & Amanda and four grandchildren, Rachel, Kaleb, Keegan and Lily.

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