Marines Corps honors Lee grad for bravery in Iraq
Audrie Palmer
Midland Reporter-Telegram

Staff Sgt.
Daniel Bogart doesn't shy away from telling his children exactly what he does in the military, but he's not sure how much of his job they understand.

"They call me the 'Bomb Marine'," he said.

Yet, his daughter Kimberly knows what he does is brave.

"My daddy's a hero," she told Bogart's sister on a family vacation last July. "Did you know that?"

"Yes, I did know that," Bobbye Bogart recalled.

"I just wanted to make sure that you did," the 8-year-old added.

Last Saturday, the military also recognized Bogart for his heroic actions while stationed in Iraq. He was presented with the Bronze Star Award with a Combat V -- the fifth highest award given to an officer.

"It's important to me. I want to dedicate it to them," he said. "My wife had to endure the phone call when I was injured, and my dad has had to see me leave five times in the last ten years to go overseas."

The staff sergeant was given the medal for his work as a team leader, when he worked on the explosive ordnance disposal team taking apart roadside bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices.

On his last tour of Iraq, which lasted seven months and concluded in March, he and his team of three deactivated 65 IEDs on 174 missions.

Since July 2003, the Web site Icasualties.org reports that more than 1,600 U.S. troops have been killed in IED attacks.

One of the rewarding things about his job, Bogart said, is being able to help keep other soldiers safe and clear the roadway of bombs to help people to be able to move again.

"You hear a lot about the ones that go off, but not about the ones we take apart," he said.

The 1997 graduate of Lee High School said he was surprised when he learned he would be receiving the award.

"They had talked about it, but I had no idea it would be a Bronze Star," he said.

The ceremony took place Oct. 11, at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, SC. His wife Melissa, children Kimberly and Austin, and other family members attended the ceremony.

"It's tough. You worry about him, but he feels like his service is contributing to saving the lives of his fellow Marines," said his father Brian, a lieutenant with the Midland Police Department.

Bogart also received the Purple Heart medal for being injured in service. While he was defusing three bombs in an intersection, a concealed fourth bomb went off about three feet from him.

Both of his eardrums were ruptured and fragments of shrapnel hit his face. His partner, who was six feet away from the blast, also received a lot of shrapnel in his face and arms.

Bogart was hospitalized for twelve days before he went back to work.

According to his dad, the staff sergeant joined the Marines because it was the toughest of the services.

"He wanted a challenge, and it's the hardest field," he said.

For Bogart to even be in the EOD division, it was not an easy task.

All officers in the division must be in the Marines at least three to four years prior and be familiar with the branch.

They also have to have a GT score of 110, be able to maintain top secret clearance and pass interviews including a physical fitness test and an exam to make sure they are mentally strong enough to take on the job.

After that, Bogart was selected to come into the program. He attended classes on bomb disposal and studied to maintain an 85 average required by the program.

His field of work may be a challenge, but he said it's gratifying everyday.

"I'm doing something for the benefit of everyone," he said.

Bogart won't be returning to Iraq. He's stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort where he works with local law enforcement in the surrounding four counties as a part of their bomb squad.

Bobbye Bogart of Midland said that in no way did she ever envision her brother becoming a war hero.

Growing up, she said, he was always picking on her in a "big brother sort of way." And he was extremely protective of her because "no one was ever good enough for his baby sister."

"It makes me really proud to know that he put his life on the line to keep me and everybody safe," she said.