View Full Version : Sergeant Darrell Samuel Cole

06-28-03, 10:54 AM
Sergeant Darrell Samuel Cole,
United States Marine Corps Reserve

USS COLE (DDG 67) is the first warship named for Sergeant Darrell S. Cole, USMC (1920-1945). Sergeant Cole was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry in the campaign at Iwo Jima.

On August 25, 1941, Cole enlisted in the Marine Corps for the duration of the National Emergency. Following boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was appointed to the Field Music School for training as a Marine Corps Field Musician (a bugler). He was unhappy in his role of Field Musician, because he had joined a fighting outfit to fight. He had applied for a change in rating, but was refused due to the shortage of buglers. He completed instruction and was transferred to the First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. On August 7, 1942, he reached the shores of Guadalcanal for the first American offensive of World War II, where he had an opportunity to fill in as a Machine Gunner in the absence of the regular gunner.

Cole completed his first overseas tour of duty and returned to the United States in February 1943 where he joined the First Batallion, Twenty-Third Marines, a part of the Fourth Marine Division at Camp Lejune, North Carolina. When the unit moved to California he again asked for relief as a Field Musician and for permission to perform line duties. Due to the shortage of buglers in the Marine Corps, his request was disapproved.

During the first engagement of the Fourth Division at Roi-Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll, Cole, again forsaking his bugle, went in to action as a Machine Gunner. Later, during the battle for Saipan, Cole was actually assigned to a machine gun unit and was even designated as a machine gun section leader. During the battle his squad leader was killed and Cole, although wounded, assumed command of the entire squad. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for "…his resolute leadership, indomitable fighting spirit and tenacious determination in the face of terrific opposition." He was also awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

A few days after the battle of Saipan, Cole again led his squad ashore in the invasion of the neighboring islands of Tinian. He continued to build his reputation as "The Fighting Field Musician."

After the Marianas campaigns, he resubmitted his request for a change of rating. This time his request was approved. He was redesignated Corporal "line" and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant in November 1944.

On February 19, 1945, Sergeant Cole led his machine gun section ashore in the D-Day assault of Iwo Jima. Moving forward with the initial assault wave, a hail of fire from two enemy emplacements halted his section's advance. Sergeant Cole personally destroyed them with hand grenades. His unit continued to advance until pinned down for a second time by enemy fire from three Japanese gun emplacements. One of these emplacements was silenced by Cole's machine guns. When his machine guns jammed, armed only with a pistol and one hand grenade, Sergeant Cole made a one-man attack against the two remaining gun emplacements. Twice he returned to his own lines for additional grenades and continued the attack under fierce enemy fire until he had succeeded in destroying the enemy strong points.

Upon returning to his own squad, he was instantly killed by an enemy grenade. By his one-man attack and heroic self-sacrifice, Sergeant Cole enabled his company to move forward against the fortifications and attain their ultimate objective.