Former 1st Cav Soldier to Receive Distinguished Service Cross for Iraq Heroism

U.S. Army Soldiers of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, patrol the roads near a tactical checkpoint in Taji, Iraq, Sept. 17, 2007. (Steve Czyz/Army)
U.S. Army Soldiers of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, patrol the roads near a tactical checkpoint in Taji, Iraq, Sept. 17, 2007. (Steve Czyz/Army)

A former 1st Cavalry Division soldier will receive the nation's second-highest award for valor for saving three fellow service members from a suicide bomber attack during a 2007 patrol in Iraq.

Former Sgt. Daniel E. Cowart, who was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, will have his original Silver Star upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross in a March 20 ceremony at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a Feb. 19 base press release.

The upgrade was ordered after the completion of a comprehensive, year-long Military Decorations and Awards Review, begun by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the release states.

Cowart was serving as a gunner with 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 3-8, during a May 13, 2007, combat patrol along a main supply route, according to his Silver Star citation.

His platoon halted a vehicle at checkpoint, but the occupants would not exit the automobile.

"Sgt. Cowart and three of his comrades dismounted their vehicle and approached the stopped vehicle and took positions to engage with the occupants," the release states. "The occupants burst from the vehicle, one wielding a rifle, which he fired at two of the nearby soldiers, and the other wearing a suicide vest."

Another soldier fired at the insurgent with the rifle, while Cowart maneuvered around the vehicle and tackled the suicide vest-wearing insurgent, the release states.

A hand-to-hand struggle ensued, resulting in Cowart "hurling himself and the man away from the vehicle," according to the release.

"Despite the confusion, the insurgent detonated his vest, thereby traumatically wounding Sgt. Cowart," the release states. "Due to his ability to discern the threat to his comrades and his utter disregard for his own safety, Sgt. Cowart was able to prevent further injury to his fellow soldiers and nearby civilians."

Cowart was medically retired with an honorable discharge on Sept. 28, 2008, after nine years of service, the release adds.

The Army also recently announced that it will upgrade Maj. Thomas Bostick's posthumous Silver Star to the DCS on March 1 for the bravery he showed against enemy fighters in Afghanistan in 2007.

Bostick, who served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, is credited with sacrificing his life to protect his fellow Sky Soldiers during a March 27, 2007, enemy ambush in the mountains near Saret Koleh.

Under heavy fire, Bostick, who was later killed, placed himself in front of a large enemy force and laid down covering fire so members of his unit could scramble to a better defensive position.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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