Born in Columbus, Montana, Donald Ruhl joined the Marine Corps in September 1942. Qualified as a sharpshooter and graded as a “combat swimmer,” Ruhl attended Parachute Training School, successfully earning his jump wings and joining the 3rd Parachute Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. As part of a 60 millimeter mortar crew, Ruhl first saw action at Bougainville. With the disbandment of parachute units in the Corps, Ruhl was reassigned to the 5th Marine Division and shipped out to the Pacific again. Landing on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, Ruhl displayed extraordinary courage, taking on eight Japanese defenders single-handedly, moving through heavy enemy fire to rescue a wounded Marine, and occupying a position alone overnight that prevented enemy forces from retaking a gun emplacement. Ruhl’s final act of bravery saved the lives of several Marines. On February 21, Ruhl dove on a grenade, absorbing the explosion and saving the lives of Marines nearby. Private First Class Donald Ruhl was 21 years old.