With the Memorial Day approaching and many enjoying the weekend and holiday on Monday, I wanted to break from a post about trading or market related and bring to light the story of a Marine that made the highest sacrifice. This is a post about Corporal Jason Dunham, Medal of Honor Recipient, and a Marine that I had the privilege of knowing.
I met Jason while stationed at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base as part of the Marine Corps Security Forces. It was an overall small unit with many of the Marines there knowing or knwoing of each other. There are many other Marines that knew him a lot better than me. My interactions with Jason were simply eating at the same time and the occasional small talk such that began with ”Hey how you doing?”; “What’s Up?”; or “Are you using that anymore?” when in the weight room. But he was that guy that everyone liked and no one ever had anything to say bad about him, just an overall respected Marine.
Below information about Jason taken from the website Jason L. Dunham Memorial, but it gives a nice insight into his life and what he did. Corporal Jason L. Dunham was born on 10 November 1981 (coincidentally the Marine Corps Birthday) in Scio, New York and passed away at 22 years old. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and was stationed at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base under the Security Forces military occupation and was a member of the Close Quarters Battle Team, the highest trained team that’s comparative to SWAT. Like every other Marine that enlists in Security Forces during their first enlistment, they go to the infantry during the last half of their obligation and Jason reported to 4th Platoon, Kilo Company, Third Battalion Seventh Marine Regiment in Twentynine Palms, CA. This unit then deployed to Iraq as part of the War on Terror.
On Jan. 11, 2007, Corproral Dunham was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration of the United States. He is the second serviceman and the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror.
Below is the Medal of Honor Citation that details Corporal Dunham’s actions on that fateful day.
Corporal Dunham died of his wounds eight days later at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, at the age of 22 with his family by his side. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Scio at Fairlawn Cemetery.
In reading you the citation you can see how selfless of an act it was and the kind of character that made up Corporal Dunham. On 19 March 2007, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen James T. Conway, concurred with the naming of a barrack’s building in honor of Cpl Dunham on Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, and a few days later on 23 March, the Navy announced it’s newest destroyer would also bear his name as the USS Jason Dunham.
A complete list of Cpl Dunham’s awards and decorations includes: Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
There is a book written about Jason Dunham’s life from beginning to end and I highly recommend it to everyone. It is a shorter and easy read that encompasses the events of that day as well as what Jason’s family went through afterward. The book is titled “The Gift of Valor“.
I end this post with a script below from a friend of Jason’s and Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps (at the time):
Lance Cpl. Dean told those assembled about a trip to Las Vegas the two men and Becky Jo Dean had taken in January, not long before the battalion left for the Persian Gulf. Chatting in a hotel room, [Dunham] told his friends he was planning to extend his enlistment and stay in Iraq for the battalion’s entire tour. “You’re crazy for extending,” Lance Cpl. Dean recalls saying. “Why?”
He says Cpl. Dunham responded: “I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive. I want to be sure you go home to your wife alive.”
Mission accomplished, Corporal Dunham. Semper Fidelis.