Daniel Lee Lanham was born to Bernard J. and Bertha Decleene Lanham on September 30, 1948, in Moline, Illinois. Daniel graduated from Riverdale High School, Port Byron, Illinois, in 1967. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after graduation.
Daniel served as a Squad Leader with Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in Vietnam. He was wounded and received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for actions in Vietnam. On August 29, 1968, he was conducting a search and destroy mission in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, with his platoon when they came under intense enemy weapons fire that killed his platoon commander. Lance Corporal Lanham, although wounded, took charge and shouted words of encouragement to his platoon. He remained in a position that exposed him to enemy fire to move a wounded comrade to safety and also help others to more secure positions. He incurred shrapnel wounds and underwent treatment in DaNang. The Silver Star is the third highest combat award for heroism. He was promoted to corporal in October.
On October 21, 1972, Daniel was married to Barbara Heiar of Davenport, Iowa. The wedding was officiated by her brother, the Rev. James Heiar of Chicago, Illinois, at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Springbrook, Iowa. After a wedding trip to Florida, the couple resided in Davenport, Iowa. Barbara attended the American Institute of Commerce, Davenport. and was employed as a bookkeeper by Twin State Machine Tool Company, Davenport. Daniel was employed as a salesman with Steed Industries.
On May 31, 1991, Daniel retired from his military service in the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant after 20 years. Just one month prior, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Daniel L. Lanham died seven months later on December 21, 1991, in a work-related accident when his snowplow dump truck fell on him at the Phenix Township Garage, Phenix Township, Henry County, north of Geneseo, where he was employed. He started working for the township one month previously. He was just 43 years of age.
Daniel had also been working part-time at Marv’s Appliance in Geneseo. Daniel was a member of St. Malachy’s Catholic Church, Geneseo, Don Cherry Post 5083 Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Geneseo Rolle Bolle Club (Bowling Club). He enjoyed hunting, camping, and fishing.
Daniel is buried at the Rock Island National Cemetery.
SILVER STAR AWARDED FOR ACTIONS DURING Vietnam War
Service: Marine Corps, Rank: Lance Corporal, Battalion: 1st Battalion Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF
GENERAL ORDERS: CITATION: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lance Corporal Daniel L. Lanham, United States Marine Corps, for gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Squad Leader with Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On 29 August 1968, while his platoon was conducting a search and destroy operation near An Hoa in Quang Nam Province, Lance Corporal Lanham was wounded when the Marines came under a heavy volume of enemy automatic weapons fire. Realizing that his platoon commander had been mortally wounded, Lance Corporal Lanham disregarded his own painful injuries and unhesitatingly took charge of the forward element of the unit. Shouting words of encouragement to his men, he commenced directing suppressive fire against the hostile force and maneuvered across the fire-swept area and obtained a radio from a casualty. Boldly remaining in a position dangerously exposed to the intense enemy fire, he skillfully adjusted artillery fire and air strikes and controlled the attack of armed helicopters against the hostile emplacements. Continuing to ignore his painful injuries, he commenced directing the withdrawal of his men to more tenable positions. Observing an injured Marine lying in an open area, Lance Corporal Lanham fearlessly disregarded the intense enemy fire as he rushed across the hazardous terrain and carried his wounded comrade to a location of relative safety. His heroic actions and calm presence of mind inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the life of a fellow Marine. By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Lance Corporal Lanham upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
The Hall of Valor a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a veteran and Military Times contributing editor, (https://valor.militarytimes.com/about-valor) (Accessed 6/22/2022)