Sergeant Darrell Samuel Cole
On August 25
,1941, Cole enlisted in the Marine Corps for the duration of the
National Emergency, and following a boot training at Parris Island,
South Carolina, he was appointed to the Field Music School for training
as a Marine Corps Field Music, the equivalent of a bugler. Completing
instruction, he was transferred to the First Marine Regiment, First
Marine Division, and on August 7, 1942, reached the shores of
Guadalcanal for the first American offensive of World War II.
Not too happy in his role of field music when he had joined a fighting
outfit to fight and after acquitting himself meritoriously as a machine
gunner in the absence of the regular gunner, he applied for a change in
rating, but was refused due to the shortage of buglers. Cole completed
his first overseas tour of duty and returned to the United States in
February 1943, where he joined First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marines,
then forming as a part of the Fourth Marine Division at Camp Lejeune,
North Carolina. When the unit moved to California he again asked for
relief as a Field Music and for permission to perform line duties, but
was again refused due to the shortage of buglers in the Marine Corps.
During the first engagement of the Fourth Division at Roi-Namur in the
Kwajalein Atoll, Cole, again forsaking his bugle, went into action as a
machine-gunner. Four months later, when the Division stormed ashore at
Saipan, he had been assigned to a machine-gun unit. Because of his
proven ability in combat, he was designated a machine gun section
leader. During the battle when his squad leader was killed, Cole,
although wounded, assumed command of the entire squad and acquitted
himself in such a manner to be 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 Medal 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, where he
continued to live up to his growing reputation as "The Fighting Field
After the Marianas campaigns he again requested a change of rating and
this time his request was approved and 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, their advance was halted by a hail of fire from two Japanese
emplacements which Sergeant Cole personally destroyed 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, but then jammed.
Armed only with a pistol and one hand grenade, Sergeant Cole made a
one-man attack against the two remaining positions. 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 Japanese
strong point. 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
fortifications and attain their ultimate objective.
Dark Blue and gold represent sea
faring excellence and are traditionally associated with the Navy
Red, for blood and courage, denotes Sergeant Cole's valor and
sacrifice. A trident symbolizes sea prowess and COLE's modern warfare
capabilities. The three tines represent submarine, and air warfare
capabilities. Three hand grenades commemorate Sergeant Cole's heroic
one-man grenade attach against enemy emplacements during the assault on
Iwo Jima. A broken chevron alludes to Sergeant Cole's breaking the
enemy's hold, enabling his company to attain it's ultimate objective.
The grenades also represent the traits courage, valor and honor,
commemorating Sergeant Cole's fighting spirit and dedication.
The Crest: A blue reversed star
Medal of Honor posthumously awarded to Sergeant Cole for his
self-sacrifice and extraordinary heroism. The crossed navy sword and
Marine Mameluke signify cooperation within and the fighting spirit of
the Naval Service. A French horn combined with two swords underscores
his service with the Marine Corps as a Field Musician and reminds us of
his nickname, "The Fighting Field Musician." The laurel wreath is
emblematic of honor and high achievement.
Motto: GLORIA MERCES VIRTUTIS
"GLORY IS THE REWARD OF VALOR" underscores the spirit of Sergeant
Darrell S. Cole, his extraordinary heroism, his unwavering loyalty to
his country, and his bravery in facing adversity without fear.
"A DETERMINED WARRIOR"