Marine Corps Sgt. Darrell S.Cole was one of 22 Marines who were awarded the Medal of Honor for the pitched combat that took place on the tiny volcanic island of Iwo Jima. He was originally assigned as a bugler but fought four times to change his rating, fighting in earlier battles as a machine gunner before being given a machinegun section. He was killed in action on February 19, 1945, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism against the Japanese. The Navy named a destroyer, the USS Cole (DDG-67) after him.

Iwo Jima was part of the Japanese Empire and was an important strategic location as it was within fighter range of Japan. That would mean that P-51 fighters would be able to escort B-29 bombers to and from their targets. And bombers damaged over Japan could land on Iwo Jima instead of trying to fly all the way back to Tinian. The Japanese knew this and heavily fortified it with hidden bunkers and tunnels that crisscrossed the tiny (8-square mile) island.

Cole was born on July 20, 1920, in Esther, Missouri. He graduated from high school in 1938 in Esther and was active in sports, photography, and music.