Friday, August 27, 2010

Marine Master Sgt. Daniel L. Fedder

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Master Sgt. Daniel L. Fedder, 34, of Pine City, Minn.

MSgt. Fedder was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Aug. 27, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

A Marine Corps staff noncommissioned officer was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Friday, military officials announced Monday.

Master Sgt. Daniel L. Fedder, 34, died in the blast while he was conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 1st Marine Logistics Group officials said in a statement. Fedder, of Pine City, Minn., was an explosive ordnance disposal technician and was assigned to 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company at Camp Pendleton.

"It's such a punch in the gut," said Fedder's high school wrestling coach, Wayne Hansmann, after learning that Fedder had been killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province. "It's hard to fathom how much some of these people are willing to sacrifice to do for their country. To go over there three times and risk his life, well, then again, it doesn't surprise me."

Fedder was just that kind of person when he was in high school. "He just had this attitude that when he got into something, he went into it gung-ho. He jumped in with both feet," Hansmann said. "It looks like he did the same thing with his military career. He didn't sit around the edges."

"He was from a small town, and he wanted to see the world," said his aunt, Lori Fedder, of Pine City. Even more, she said, he wanted to serve his country. "He really believed that's where he should be."

Daniel Fedder's parents divorced when he was young, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, Lori Fedder said.

Her nephew never talked about the dangers of his job, "but his mom, dad and brother always worried about him."

Lori Fedder said that the hardest part of her nephew's job was being away from his two children, 6-year-old Storm and 10-year-old Danielle, who live with their mother in California. "He was so proud of his kids. ... And he was such a great dad. Danny was just a wonderful, wonderful kid. ... He was a wonderful man."

His grandmother, Florence Fedder, said Daniel graduated from Pine City High School and dedicated his life to the Marines. Pine City is about 65 miles north of Minneapolis. "He was a very nice kid, got good grades in school as far as I know, wanted to make the service his career," Florence Fedder said.

The principal at Pine City High School, George Johnson, said he remembers Fedder well, particularly his passion for wrestling.

"As soon as I heard his name I could see his picture in the yearbook, because he's a very good looking kid, military-style haircut, smile and everything," Johnson said. "Mostly I remember how intense he was as a wrestler, very hardworking kid."

Hansmann remembers when Fedder first came out for wrestling. "He was a bit raw," he said. "I don't think he won a match the whole year. But he stuck with it," he said. Eventually, Fedder earned a varsity spot and became the team's captain.

"I remember one time when he had cauliflower ear. He had just gotten it lanced and his whole head was bandaged up," Hansmann said. "A lot of kids would have said, 'This is too painful and I'm going to sit this one out tonight.' But Dan went out there and wrestled, and I think he won a match for us. ... Dan was the kid who got the most of what he had. He wasn't the most talented kid in the room but he improved the most from when he started to when he graduated. And when you're coaching, that's what it's all about. He got the most out of his potential."

Former teammate Billy Runyan said he lost contact with Fedder after high school, and was "floored" when he read the news about his death Monday. "Dan was such a great guy. It makes me wish we had stayed in touch."

The 16-year veteran had completed combat deployments to Iraq, in 2004 and in 2006, and did an overseas deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2007. He was on his first combat tour in Afghanistan.

His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy-Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Marine Security Guard Ribbon and the NATO Medal.

His family has asked for privacy as they grieve. Master Sgt. Fedder has a lot of family in Pine City. All respected his mother's wishes by not speaking on camera, but they did say his legacy will be one of honor and integrity, and that he was proud to be a Marine and to serve his country.

Marine Master Sgt. Daniel L. Fedder was killed in action on 8/27/10.

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