Ian Gardiner was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1968. He fought in the Dhofar War in Oman from 1973 to 1975 where he was decorated with the Omani Distinguished Service Medal for Gallantry. He also fought in the Falklands War in 1982 commanding a rifle company in 45 Commando Royal Marines. For over two years he commanded a RM detachment in the frigate HMS Diomede and qualified as a Bridge Watchkeeper. After the IRA bombed the Royal Marines School of Music at Deal in 1989 he was appointed Commandant to help restore the morale of the RM Band Service. Subsequent command of 40 Commando included his fourth operational tour in Northern Ireland. He was also an Equerry to the late HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and is a graduate of the Royal College for Defence Studies.