Thursday, June 24, 2010
Corporal JASON L. DUNHAM 1981 - 2004
Jason Dunham (November 10, 1981 – April 22, 2004) was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps who served with 4th Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (3/7), 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
While fighting with his unit in Karabilah, Iraq, an enemy soldier threw a grenade that landed next to him. Rather than allow the grenade to explode and kill or injure not only himself but several other Marines in the area he sacrificed himself and dove on top of the grenade. When it exploded Dunham was seriously injured and died eight days later.
On November 10, 2006, at the dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, President George W. Bush announced that Dunham would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on April 14, 2004 near Husaybah, Iraq. Dunham became the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq, and the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
Jason Dunham was born November 10, 1981 in Scio, New York and lived his entire life in Scio, graduating from Scio High school in 2000. While attending Scio high school Dunham played basketball for his high school team.
Dunham joined the Marine Corps in 2000 after graduating high school and after completing recruit training, he served as a Security Force sentry at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.
In early 2004, he was serving with 4th Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (3/7), 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. On April 14, 2004, Corporal Dunham was leading a Marine patrol near Husaybah, Iraq, investigating an attack on a Marine convoy. His patrol intercepted a number of cars spotted near the scene of the attack. An individual in one of the vehicles attacked Dunham. During the fighting, the individual dropped a live Mills bomb-type hand grenade. Dunham, to save the rest of his men, threw himself on the grenade, attempting to use his helmet to shield himself and others from the explosion.
Corporal Dunham was severely wounded as a result of the grenade blast and was taken to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where he was being treated for his injuries. He died eight days later, on April 22, 2004. Shortly beforehand, Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee presented Dunham with the Purple Heart. General Hagee, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps John L. Estrada and Dunham's parents were at his bedside when he died. He was buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Scio New York.
In addition to the Medal of Honor and his other military decorations Dunham has also received other honors including being the namesake of a United States Navy destroyer, a post office and Marine Corps barracks.
Dunham's awards include: Medal of Honor, Combat Action Ribbon, Purple Heart, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Medal Of Honor Citation
Rank and Organization: Corporal, United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.