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Project Hero: ILT Thomas E. Cogan, Silver Star
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today's Project Hero awardee is 1LT Thomas Cogan, an infantry platoon commander at the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 1LT Cogan exemplifies the type of leader our services have out there leading our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines in combat. There is no job in any service in which an officer is more involved in combat than that of an infantry platoon commander. And our officers are taught that they should lead from the front:
The Silver Star was awarded to 1st Lt. Thomas E. Cogan, executive officer for Company E, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, June 9 by Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, commanding general of the Okinawa-based III Marine Expeditionary Force, during an early morning ceremony held at the camp's West Chapel.

Cogan, a Philadelphia native, was presented the award for actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Ramadi, Iraq, while serving as the platoon commander for 3rd Platoon, E Co., during April of last year.

On April 6, 2004, 2nd Platoon was ambushed by enemy forces while moving to reinforce a heavily engaged unit. With total disregard for his personal safety, Cogan led his platoon across a fire-swept field and directed fire. Though caught in the crossfire, he exposed himself to direct fire in order to cross an open field and position himself to direct fires on the enemy. His actions enabled the company command element to move to safety. After consolidating his platoon, Cogan led his men through a fierce, three-hour, house-to-house assault that destroyed remaining enemy forces in his zone of action.

Blackman spoke to the Marines attending the ceremony about the award, hailing Cogan's deeds on the battlefield as great leadership under fire.

"Lieutenant Cogan displayed great tactical skill in a combat environment, leading his Marines and pursuing the enemy," Blackman said.

Cogan also spoke, giving a few short and humble words about his accomplishment, thanking those in attendance for their presence, but mostly attributing the award to his Marines who where involved in the action.

"I'm sure, at times, my Marines were wondering 'What is this guy thinking?'" Cogan said. "But they never hesitated, and it's because of their hard work and willingness that we were able to push through."
When you have confidence in your leadership, you don't hesitate, but you support their decisions with immediate action. It is about trust and respect. 1LT Cogan had obviously earned both the trust and respect of his Marines and, when the chips were down, they responded to his direction magnificently.


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
MSG Donald R. Hollenbaugh: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Jarred L. Adams: 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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Previous Comments to this Post 

What a great series. Thank you for writing it. I’ve been fearing that we’re having our first war in which there are no heroes to be had. Nice job.
Written By: Pablo
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Good stuff, McQ. Keep up the good work.
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