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.
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.
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.
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.