Darrell Cole, from Park Hills, Missouri, joined the United States Marine Corps in August 1941. Assigned to the 1st Marine Division, Cole landed on Guadalcanal August 7, 1942. He returned to home in 1943, and was assigned to the 4th Marine Division, participating in the battles for Kwajalein, Saipan, and Tinian. Later in 1944, he also fought in the Mariana and Palau Islands.
Originally assigned duty as a bugler, Cole had been requesting a change to machine gunner since 1941. Having performed that role many times in combat as machine gunners were killed in action, he finally achieved his goal after the Marianas campaign. On February 19, 1945, Cole, promoted to Sergeant, led a machinegun section ashore in the initial assault wave landing on Iwo Jima. He bravely led his squad, fighting against Japanese gun emplacements before he was killed by an enemy grenade that same day. Sergeant Darrell Cole was 24 years old.