Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Jason L Dunham

Scio, New York

April 22, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
22 Marine Cpl

3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Twenty-nine Palms, Calif

Died due to injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

Corporal Dunham, Jason L. USMC 
Medal of Honor

for service as set forth in the following

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a 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.

Respectively Submitted
Richard Deiters Jr
MSGT USMC(Retired) '65-'85
Navy Commissions New Guided Missile Destroyer Jason Dunham

The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Jason Dunham, during a 10 a.m. EST ceremony Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The new destroyer honors Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Debra Dunham will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late son. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Dunham was born in Scio, N.Y., Nov. 10, 1981, sharing the same birthday as the U.S. Marine Corps. On April 14, 2004, Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah, Iraq, when his battalion commander’s convoy was ambushed. When Dunham’s squad approached to provide fire support, an Iraqi insurgent leapt out of a vehicle and attacked Dunham. As Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground, he noticed that the enemy fighter had a grenade in his hand and immediately alerted his fellow Marines. When the enemy dropped the live grenade, Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade, and threw himself on top to smother the blast. In an ultimate selfless act of courage, in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of two fellow Marines.

Designated DDG 109, Jason Dunham, the 59th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Jason Dunham will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.”

Cmdr. M. Scott Sciretta, born in South Amboy, N.J., will become the first commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Jason Dunham was built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
From Bryan Fritz 08/03/05:

First of all sir, I would like to thank you for creating such an honorable site for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. My father is serving in Iraq currently and would commend such a human being for respecting heroes in the armed forces. 

The reason I write this email is to have you add a little description to Corporal Jason Dunham's bio if you think its appropriate. I am not sure if you have heard his story, but recently a book was written about him called "The Gift of Valor." The final paragraph of the book seems to sum up Jason's existence and who he really was. I think it would be a nice touch to your website. It reads as so:

"Lance Corporal Mark Dean told the assembled troops a story about the trip that he, Becky Jo, and Corporal Dunham took to Las Vegas shortly before they shipped out for the war. Sitting in the hotel room, Corporal Dunham told the Deans he was considering extending his enlistment so that he could stay in Iraq through the battalion's entire tour, instead of going home early.
"You're crazy for extending," Lance Corporal Dean said. "Why?"
"I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive," Jason said. "

Corporal Jason Dunham jumped on a grenade while his comrades were being attacked by insurgents in hand to hand combat. He could have easily ran the other way, but instead sacrificed his own life and saved the fellow soldiers standing right next to him. He his currently up for the Medal of Honor for his act of bravery.

I just thought that would be a nice touch to your website incase any of his friends, family or curious readers stumble upon your website. Thank you for being a proud American.

Bryan Fritz

Son of Chief Warrant Officer Robert Fritz of the Aviation Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division

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