MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
When it comes to troop welfare and leading Marines, Gunnery Sgt. Daniel C. Morning is a name that comes to mind within Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
While many jobs in the Corps are stressful and require long hours of work, the position of company gunnery sergeant for Headquarters Company requires immense responsibility, discipline and organization.
“I have a lot of Marines counting on me to do my job,” said Morning. “If I look worn out or unable to accomplish the mission, then I’m sending the wrong message as a leader.”
Morning, whose reputation of being a motivating leader has gained him large amounts of respect by the Marines serving beside him, is charged with the care of 27 different work sections and the welfare of more than 900 Marines and sailors.
“I think he generates so much respect because he upholds the standards of the Marine Corps,” said 1st Sgt. Michael A. Cayer, the company first sergeant for Headquarters Company. “He optimizes what a Marine should be.”
While Morning plans on retiring from the Marine Corps with 30 years of service, it wasn’t always his plan to retire among the few and the proud.
At 19-years-old, he found himself working for a moving service with his stepfather and realized he wanted something else out of life. Because his father and stepfather had been Marines, Morning decided to follow the family tradition and join the Corps.
“I realized I wasn’t going anywhere with the job I had – I wanted something greater,” said Morning. “I thank God every day for the Marine Corps and all it has brought me in my life. Without the Corps, who knows what I’d be doing.”
Morning enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996 as a motor transportation vehicle operator. During his career, he has served at multiple duty stations including a deployment to Iraq, but his most memorable time in the Corps was as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. — a place he will never forget.
“I wanted to influence the junior Marines as well as give back to the Marine Corps,” Morning said. “Parris Island was the hardest duty station I’ve had in the Marine Corps, but also my favorite. Watching the transformation of young civilians into Marines and seeing how proud their families are when they graduate made everything worth it.”
As a drill instructor, it was Morning’s responsibility to infuse future Marines with the Marines Corps’ coveted leadership traits and principals. It is these guidelines that provide a solid foundation of organization, leadership and responsibility that has propelled his success as the Headquarters Company gunnery sergeant.
“Headquarters Company is unlike any other company,” he said. “It’s a big responsibility, but that’s what the Corps is all about.”