Born in Newark, New Jersey, Darrold Harper attended school and grew up in Timmonsville, South Carolina. Upon graduating high school he immediately began his military career with the US Army in May 1984, completing basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He attended the Advance Individual Training Course in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland as a Track Vehicle Repairer. In October 1984, he was assigned to 122nd Main Support Battalion, in Germany where he worked as a mechanic. While there he was promoted into the Noncommissioned Officers Corps as a Sergeant.
In 1986, he was assigned to the 197th Support Battalion, Fort Benning, Georgia. While at Fort Benning, Darrold Harper attended the Primary Leadership Development Course where he made the Commandant List representing the top 10% of his class. His positions held during this assignment at Fort Benning, Georgia were Squad Leader, Shop Foreman and Assistant Team Chief.
In 1989, he was assigned to Frankfurt, Germany where he held the position of Chief Inspector. One year later, in 1990, he was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In 1991, during the deployment, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and later held the position of Platoon Sergeant. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1992, he was assigned to United States Ordinance Center & School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland where he held the position of a Small Group Leader at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
After 2 years in MD he again went overseas to the Netherlands and held the position of Quality Assurance Inspector and Security, Plans & Operations NCO. Upon completion of the Noncommissioned Officer’s Course, he was promoted to Sergeant First Class and assumed the duties of Detachment Sergeant for the 19th Combat Equipment Company.
His In 1997, Darrold Harper was assigned to 281st Maintenance Company in Evansville, Indiana as an active component/reserve component (AC/RC). He held the position of Maintenance Control Supervisor with additional duties as the Training NCO.
In 2000 Darrold Harper returned to Germany with assignments that included: 77th Maintenance Company in Babenhausen, Germany; a deployment in 2003 to Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and promoted to Master Sergeant. During the deployment, he was promoted to Master Sergeant; in 2005 Darrold Harper assumed the duties and responsibilities as the First Sergeant of the 596th Maintenance Company and another deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the responsibility of over 250 Soldiers for a 12 month deployment. During his 8 year assignment he has also contributed countless hours volunteering as a Youth Services and Unit Level Coach for all youth and unit level sports for Babenhausen Community.
His last assignment was in 2008 when relocated to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. After 26 years, 1 month, and 10 days, he decided to retire in 2010. After retirement he started a new career as a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) instructor in 2011 with Richmond City Public School at Franklin Military Academy. After one year there he became the Army Instructor of the JROTC program at Dinwiddie High School.
First Sergeant Harper is married to the former Patricia Faye McCullough and they have one son named Darrold Terrell, and one granddaughter Layla Joyce. He received his Associate Degree in Business Administration at American Intercontinental University and his Bachelor Degree at Strayer University.