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WHS grad receives Bronze Star

WORTHINGTON -- When Maj. David Cole Jr. called home from Camp Slayer in Baghdad, Iraq, to ask his parents what they wanted for Christmas this year, they each gave him the same answer -- "You."

On Friday night, David and Jackie Cole met their son at the airport in Sioux Falls, S.D., some 14 months after he left his family and friends behind for a tour as an intelligence officer in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserves. It was the first Christmas he'd been home "in years," according to his father.

While Cole's arrival was cause for celebration in itself, he carried with him a prestigious honor -- a Bronze Star presented to him in early December for "exceptionally meritorious service while assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division as a persistent threat detection system Officer in Charge from Nov. 24, 2004, through Dec. 10, 2005."

A certificate accompanying the medal praised Cole for his "unrelenting dedication to mission accomplishment" and being "instrumental to the division's success during combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III and the Global War on Terrorism."

Cole has completed several tours during his 21 years in the military. His career began as a member of the Worthington Army National Guard, where he completed four years. Since then, he has been part of the U.S. Army Reserves, serving in the Persian Gulf War and completing tours in Uganda, Rwanda, Kosovo, England and Germany. He currently resides in Sioux Falls.

The 1983 Worthington High School graduate earned an associate's degree from Worthington Community College, a bachelor's degree in economics and business administration from Mankato State University, a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering technology from South Dakota State University and a master's degree in industrial management from SDSU.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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