A Hero Is Honored:U.S.S. Jason Dunham Christened

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This event should have dominated the news today.

Jason Lee Dunham, born and raised in Scion, NY, was destined to be a Marine. Jason’s birthday was the same as the USMC, 10 Nov., and in typical fashion of a hero, he extended his enlistment so he could serve a full combat tour with his fellow Marines, making a personal vow to get all the members of his squad home alive. All did, but Jason, who lingered for eight days before the Lord called him home, while his parents, Gen. Michael Hagee, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps John L. Estrada stood by his side.

One of the few stories on this important event, came from the AP.

After composing herself and taking a deep breath, Deb Dunham smashed a bottle of champagne over the bow of the 510-foot warship Jason Dunham, then held the bottle aloft before a cheering crowd of more than 1,500 people.

She was joined by the Marines who served with her son, by her husband, Dan Dunham, and their daughter Katelyn Dunham. Two other Dunham boys also were in the audience.

Retired Gen. Michael Hagee, a former Marine commandant who was with the Dunhams when their son died at Bethesda Naval Hospital days after the explosion, said Jason gave the “gift of valor.” Hagee said the warship will serve as a reminder that freedom “is paid for by the men and women who wear the cloth of this nation.”

“They are willing to give up everything that is important: love, marriage, children, family, friends,” Hagee said of the 22-year-old Marine. “I can tell you I’ve always stood in awe of that.”

From Breitbart.

While Dunham’s name will always be synonymous with his actions on April 14, 2004, his parents remember a young man who wasn’t perfect, growing up in the small town in western New York. He excelled at sports but wasn’t the best student. He often forgot to take the trash out, they said.

But he always had a tendency to look out for others.

“Jason had the biggest heart on this planet. He was always looking out for everybody else and their welfare. When they were sad, he would make them laugh. He was that way all through his childhood growing up, and in the Marine Corps also,” Dan Dunham said.

I can feel and hear Mrs. Dunham’s sigh in my heart, as she struck the newest ship in the Navy fleet with the champagne bottle. The ship which will bear his name, and also serve and protect its crew, as Jason would have done. I feel a mixture of pride and sadness, knowing that Jason has been honored this way, after honoring us with the greatest sacrifice of all.

Thank you Jason, for being there for us, and your fellow Marines.
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Dunham, for allowing us to share the life and memory of your son.

Here is the official MoH citation, on Jason, and the other three recipients of this award in Iraq.

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.

Godspeed, good and faithful Marine.

*Cross-posted*
At LGF2 and Urban Grounds.

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