Daniel J. Danhauer


Daniel John Danhauer
863 10 81
River Forest, IL
Parents, Stanley & Loretta Danhauer
7/10/1943 – unknown
IWO JIMA 1/24 (Aid Station) Corpsman PhM3c WIA
Purple Heart
Pharmacist’s Mate, Second Class

Daniel Danhauer was born in Illinois in 1925; he was the oldest child of dentist Stanley Danhauer and his wife, Loretta. “Danny” grew up in the Chicago area, and enlisted in the US Navy not long after his eighteenth birthday.

Daniel Danhauer as a senior at Oak Park / River Forest High School, 1943.
Danhauer as a senior at Oak Park / River Forest High School, 1943.

After completing corpsman’s training at Field Medical School, he was assigned to the 65th Replacement Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Danhauer not long after receiving his PhM3c rating. At top with parents Stanley and Loretta, middle with mother, and the bottom picture shows Loretta and younger sister Nancy.

Danhauer crossed the country and sailed for Maui, where he joined the First Battalion, 24th Marines on October 23, 1944. The nineteen-year-old Danhauer earned the affectionate nickname “Doc” while fighting on Iwo Jima – and would celebrate his twentieth birthday by treating casualties under fire.

Danny was attached to the battalion’s aid station, rather than a rifle platoon, and spent most of the battle holed up in Iwo Jima’s rock quarry, where his battalion’s casualties were brought for triage before being sent on to more sophisticated stations in the rear. Despite this protection, Danhauer was wounded himself – hit “in the can” as he leaned over a wounded Marine; Danny would joke for years that he simply “couldn’t keep his big butt out of the line of fire.” (1)

That Danhauer was not more severely wounded may have been due to the actions of his boss, the battalion surgeon Lieutenant (j. g.) Richards P. Lyon.

We lost one of our finest men [to a sniper]. I had a problem––– either to send Danny Danhauer, a green corpsman without front line platoon experience–––or to ask corpsman [Ben] Flores, battle-wise after three invasions and known to all the platoons, to fill in as this battle was ending. His job was done. His war tour would be over and he was scheduled to be on his way to the mainland as soon as we left the island. Flores said, “I’ll go,” picked up his carbine and disappeared over the brim of the hill into the valley of possible death. This was to me the ultimate bravery, based on the love that permeated our team of Navy Marines.
– Richards P. Lyon, “A Process Mind.”

For his efforts, Doc Danhauer was promoted to Pharmacist’s Mate, 2nd Class on April 11, 1945. Three days later, he was recommended for the Bronze Star Medal – unfortunately, it is unclear if he received the decoration.

Photos taken by Danny’s cousin Rick Murray while visiting Maui in 1945. The photo at top left is “Cousin Danny at Maui and the beach there. This is the PhM who went through Iwo Jima. Age 20.” Murray is in the second row, at right.

Corpsman Danhauer survived the battle, and the war. After his honorable discharge, he returned to Illinois where he Lucille Schell in 1948; they raised a family together. He worked for Sears-Roebuck for many years, and served as a member of the board of directors for the Japanese Hitachi corporation.

danhauer regis college

Daniel Danhauer died on February 19, 2010 – exactly sixty-five years after he hit the beaches of Iwo Jima.

Photographs of Danny Danhauer in the service are courtesy of Carola Murray-Seegert.

(1) Sgt. Grit newsletter.

3 thoughts on “Daniel J. Danhauer

  1. Dan was my uncle and Godfather. I didn’t know many of the things that I just read. I can see him making the comment about his “butt”…he was always the jokester. I’m glad that I got to find those things out about him. It was nice seeing the pictures of my Grandparents and Aunt Nancy. Too bad my dad Jerry wasn’t in any of them. It is eerie how one of Nancy’s son’s looks exactly like Uncle Dan.

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