David M. Birkby was born in Stratford, NJ and graduated from East Syracuse-Minoa Central High School in East Syracuse, NY in 1996. He enlisted in 2001 and underwent Recruit Training in the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC.
In December of 2002, upon completion of the Basic Music Course, Lance Corporal Birkby reported to the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band at Kaneohe Bay, HI for duty as a French horn Instrumentalist. During his tour he performed with the Concert Band, Ceremonial Band, Brass Quintet and Woodwind Quintet. He also served as the Assistant Instrument Repair Technician, Fireteam Leader, Corporal of the Guard, Arranger, Bus and Five-ton Truck Driver, and completed the Corporal’s Resident Course.
In January of 2006, Corporal Birkby reported to the Albany Marine Band in Albany, GA where he served as French horn section leader and the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the following groups: Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, and Transportation & Maintenance sections. He was also a Featured Soloist, Arranger, Squad Leader, and completed the Sergeant’s Resident Course.
In May of 2009, Sergeant Birkby reported to the 1st Marine Division Band on Camp Pendleton, CA. During his time at the “Blue Diamond,” SSgt Birkby served as the French horn Section leader, Assistant Enlisted Conductor, Assistant Small Ensemble Leader, Arranger, and Staff NCOIC of the following: Brass Quintet, Band’s Public Affairs Office, and Music Library.
In November of 2011, Staff Sergeant Birkby volunteered to deploy and was requested by the 1st Marine Division (Forward)’s Administration Shop to serve as the Foreign Linguist Manager for Task Force Leatherneck in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Throughout his deployment, SSgt Birkby traveled through Helmond, Kandahar, and Nimroz Provinces ensuring that our troops were properly equipped with the necessary linguist personnel required for effective communication with the local Afghan population.
In January of 2013, Staff Sergeant Birkby reported to the Naval School of Music at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story, VA for the Unit Leader’s Course. Upon completion SSgt Birkby reported to the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band in Miramar, CA. There he served as the French horn section leader, Platoon Sergeant, Squadron Lead Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Victim Advocate, Assistant Small Ensemble Leader, Sound Reinforcement Technician, Ceremonial Conductor, Administration Chief, Chief Arranger, and attended the Resident Career Course and Sound Reinforcement Course.
In September of 2016 Staff Sergeant Birkby reported back to the Naval School of Music for the Senior Musician’s Course. Upon completion in May of 2017, he reported to the 2d Marine Division Band, where he served as the Acting Enlisted Conductor. In February of 2018, SSgt Birkby was selected to be the Small Ensemble Leader and he acted as the Unit’s Staff NCOIC. During this time he assisted in the coordination and band’s travel to Belleau, France in support of the 100th Anniversary of the storied battle in Belleau Wood during World War I.
In August of 2019 Gunnery Sergeant Birkby reported in to the Quantico Marine Corps Band to serve as their Small Ensemble Leader, Sound Reinforcement Technician, Recording Engineer, and Arranger; he also acted as the Enlisted Conductor and SNCOIC when necessary while still performing on French horn and trumpet. GySgt Birkby was instrumental in keeping the unit musically operational during times when most of the unit was activated as Quantico’s Security Augmentation Force for both Covid-19 and Marine Corps Base Quantico’s role in housing Afghan refugees for OPERATION ALLIES WELCOME.
In September of 2022 Gunnery Sergeant Birkby returned to the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band to serve as their Small Ensemble Leader, Production Manager, Arranger, Sound Reinforcement Technician, and will continue to perform on French horn and trumpet as needed.
Gunnery Sergeant Birkby’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Second Award), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Second Award), Good Conduct Medal (Seventh Award), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Meritorious Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the NATO Medal for International Security Augmentation Forces – Afghanistan. GySgt Birkby is currently attending the Berklee Online School of Music, working towards a Bachelor's in Music Production and Engineering.