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Project Hero: MSG Donald Hollenbaugh, Distinguished Service Cross
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, July 08, 2006

The "Silent Professionals", our Special Operations warriors, are a group of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who work in the shadows of conflicts, but are integral to the success of our war fighting endeavors. Army Master Sergeant Donald R. Hollenbaugh is indicative of this group of warriors and, while working with Marines in Fallujah, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, for valor in combat.

His citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to Master Sergeant Donald R. Hollenbaugh, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, for extraordinary heroism in action on 26 April 2004, during combat operations against an armed Iraqi insurgent force while supporting United States Marine Corps operations in Fallujah, Iraq. Master Sergeant Hollenbaugh demonstrated the highest degree of courage and excellent leadership through his distinguished performance as Team Leader while engaged in Urban Combat Operations. His heroic actions throughout one of the most intensive firefights of the Operation Iraqi Freedom campaign were directly responsible for preventing enemy insurgent forces from overrunning the United States Force. Master Sergeant Hollenbaugh personally eliminated multiple enemy-controlled weapon positions, essential in turning the tide of the enemy's ground-force assault upon a United States Marine Corps Platoon. His actions under fire as a Leader were performed with marked distinction and bravery. Master Sergeant Hollenbaugh's distinctive accomplishments are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, this Command, and the United States Army.
His story:
On April 26, 2004, the Special Forces soldier was with a group of about three dozen Marines on the outskirts of Fallujah. They had taken over two houses in front of American lines when they were attacked by more than 300 enemy fighters. The attack killed one Marine and wounded 25 others, leaving few American defenders. At one point, according to an account in the Fayetteville Observer, "Hollenbaugh was the only man standing. ‘I was just running from hole to hole putting a few rounds here and there to make them feel like they were dealing with more than one guy,’ he said." According to his citation, "Hollenbaugh personally eliminated multiple enemy-controlled weapon positions," preventing the enemy from overrunning the American troops. Vice President Cheney presented Hollenbaugh with the Distinguished Service Cross on June 10, 2005.
America should take pride in such men and theirs should be household names. They deserve both honor and respect for the role they've chosen and done so well.


Previously featured in "Project Hero":

1LT Brian Chontosh: Navy Cross
PFC Daniel McClenney: Silver Star
PVT Dwayne Turner: Silver Star
MSG Robert Collins & SFC Danny Hall: Silver Star
SSG William Thomas Payne: Silver Star
CPT Christoper J. Bronzi: Silver Star
SSG Charles Good: Silver Star
SR AMN Jason D. Cunningham: Air Force Cross
PFC Jeremy Church: Silver Star
SGT Leigh Ann Hester: Silver Star
CSM Ron Riling: Silver Star
CPL Jason L. Dunham: nominee, Medal of Honor
PFC Joseph Perez: Navy Cross
COL James Coffman, Jr: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Karl Gregory: Silver Star
1LT Brian Stann: Silver Star
MSG Anthony Pryor: Silver Star
TSGT John Chapman: Air Force Cross
MSG Sarun Sar: Silver Star
1LT Jeffery Lee: Silver Star
SGT James Witkowski: Silver Star
SGT Timothy Connors: Silver Star
PO2 Juan Rubio: Silver Star
SFC David Lowe: Silver Star
SGT Leandro Baptista: Silver Star
SPC Gerrit Kobes: Silver Star
SSG Anthony Viggiani: Navy Cross
LCPL Carlos Gomez-Perez: Silver Star
SGT Joshua Szott: Silver Star


PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.
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