MAIRNE CORPS BASE CMAP LEJUENE, N.C. --
The criteria for earning the Bronze Star award includes a service member who distinguishes oneself above his comrades by brave or praiseworthy achievement.
1st Sgt. Cole Daunhauer, company first sergeant of Utilities Instruction Company at the Marine Corps Engineer School aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, put these selfless actions on display during his deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 1 to Aug. 31, 2011. A ceremony was held in his honor July 18 aboard MCB Camp Lejeune to present him with the award.
Brig. Gen. John Simmons, commanding general of Training Command in charge of MCES, presented Daunhauer with the Bronze Star and the official citation for the award aboard MCB Camp Lejeune in front of the Engineer School, along with friends and family of Daunhauer.
Daunhauer was deployed in support of OEF with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. His unit was responsible for the construction of a patrol base and May 15 the western wall of the base was penetrated by two enemy rifle rounds, causing two Marine casualties.
According to the citation, without hesitation, he established a casualty collection point and began treating the most critically wounded Marine with dressings and tourniquets while using his own body to cover the wounded Marines from additional fire.
Even as enemy fire intensified, Daunhauer took charge of a rescue team, and they evacuated the two casualties to safety. While the medical evacuation helicopter was on the ground, enemy fire was directed at the helicopter. Daunhauer saw another Marine was injured from the engagement and sprinted across 100 meters of open, uncovered terrain in order to attend to the casualty. He and his team then transported the casualty to another medical evacuation helicopter to get the third wounded Marine to safety.
Daunahuer’s courageous effort to take care of his troops potentially saved the lives of multiple Marines.
“The enemy firing started around (2 a.m.), and everyone stayed composed and did their job,” remembered Daunhauer. “There were many different heroes that morning.”
The humble Daunhauer said he felt honored to receive the award in front of his peers. Daunhauer also said he didn’t think he deserved the award more than anyone else he was with that day.
“I’m no hero,” he said. “I was just at my appointed place of duty doing my job. I know any of my Marines would have done the same thing if they were in my shoes. The medical evacuation was a true team effort made possible because everyone did their own job.”
Simmons described the first sergeant as “real-life hero” and a Marine with leadership qualities everyone should look to emulate.