Former Camp Pendleton leader nominated to become Marine's highest-ranking officer
Mar. 29–Lt. Gen David H. Berger, who from 2014 to 2016 headed up the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, has been nominated to receive his fourth star and become the Marine Corps’ 38th commandant — the military branch’s highest-ranking officer.
Current Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller will end his term this fall. The Senate will hold a confirmation vote for Berger in July.
Berger’s nomination, posted in a congressional notice on Tuesday, March 26, was applauded by commands at Camp Pendleton, who tweeted out the announcement on Wednesday.
As Berger follows in Neller’s footsteps now, Neller also served in the 1 MEF at Camp Pendleton and was on hand when Berger relinquished command of the post in July 2016.
Lt. Gen David H. Berger (Photo By Jeff Antenore, Contributing Photographer)
He lauded Berger for his two years of leadership and for helping transition the fighting force from its focus on counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan to modern threats — insurgencies, terrorism and national and non-national forces such as the Islamic State.
“Dave Berger did that, he’s the one that asked all the hard questions,” Neller said at the ceremony. “He made the Marine Corps a better war-fighting organization, which in the end is what we’re all about.”
Berger currently oversees the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va.
Gold Star parents Jim and Carla Hogan of San Clemente often interacted with Berger when he was at Camp Pendleton. When Berger left the base to take over as commander of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, he praised the couple.
The Hogans founded Socks for Heroes after the death of their son, Lance Cpl. Donald J. Hogan, in Afghanistan in 2009. The group, which works to improve the lives of Marines deployed in harsh environments, has sent 631,000 pairs of socks to Marines. The couple was presented the Navy Cross at Camp Pendleton in 2012. The award is the Corps’ second-highest decoration for heroism in combat.
“When some families face adversity they tuck back into their shells,” Berger said then. “For me, it’s been watching the Hogan family, they turn up the volume.”
“I am humbled just watching. I wish I could be half the people they are.”
For Carla and Jim Hogan, the feeling is mutual. The couple was elated to hear of Berger’s pending promotion.
“We’re both honored to call David Berger a friend,” Carla Hogan said. “He is a kind, gentle, humble and upstanding human being. He’s one of those you feel dwarfed by his presence. He is entirely dedicated to the Marine Corps, not only to the institution but to those who serve. This is an honor to a man where honor is due.
“He’s going to be a wonderful commandant,” she said. “He’s a stellar human being, a good man.”
Laura Dietz, a Corona Del Mar woman who is working on bringing an Iwo Jima Monument to Camp Pendleton, also has spent time with the general, working out details of the estimated $8 million project.
The monument will include a replica of the Marine Corps War Memorial statue in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
“He impressed me by his humility — a quiet man, a steady leader with impeccable credentials for the job,” Dietz said. ___
This article is written by Erika I. Ritchie from Orange County Register and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.