Jason Dunham will be remembered for many things his smile, friendliness,
dedication, athleticism, but perhaps he will be best remembered
as a hero.
Cpl. Dunham died from injuries suffered in Iraq on April 14 when he
stepped between a grenade and two of his fellow Marines. The Marines
had attempted to detain a man at a vehicle checkpoint when the man tried
to run away, said Cpl. Dunhams father, Dan Dunham. The man being
chased stopped, turned around and pulled the pin of a grenade.
Cpl. Dunham suffered a head injury from shrapnel wounds from the grenade
and was knocked unconscious. The other two Marines were injured in the
attack and their condition is unknown at this point, Mr. Dunham said.
Cpl. Dunham never regained consciousness, despite being transferred
from a hospital in Germany and later to the Bethesda Naval Hospital,
Mr. Dunham and his wife, Deb Dunham, were able to see their son shortly
before he died. Cpl. Dunham was with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines,
Kilo Company deployed in Iraq. He was a machine gunner and a squad leader
with some men in his infantry unit under his command. He was also awarded
a Purple Heart for his injuries and heroism.
Thats how many family and friends will remember Cpl. Dunham: as
Hes a hero to a lot of the kids, said Scio Spanish
teacher Darcy Fuller. He was their hero even before he put on
Scio social studies teacher Judy Consedine said that Cpl. Dunham was
a model, someone who if I were blessed to have grandchildren that
had his character, Id be proud.
Those who knew him described him as always having a smile on his face
and someone who made you laugh. He always had a grin on his face,
said physical education teacher Scio Cindy Haas.
Ms. Consedine said that her first memory of Cpl. Dunham was when she
was visiting the Dunhams home.
He was only about 5 years old, she said. He came up
from under the table and presented me with some chocolate chip cookies.
He flashed a smile that I will never forget. It lit up the room.
Marines Honor Corporal'sHeroic Sacrifice Submitted by: 1st Marine Division Story Identification Number: 20045143251 Story by Sgt. Jose L. Garcia
CAMP AL QAIM, Iraq(April 29, 2004) -- Recruits at the Corps' two recruit training depots will know Cpl. Jason L. Dunham.
They will know that the 22-year-old Marine lived up to the Corps' largest legends and laid down his own life to save those of his Marines.
Dunham, a machine gunner for Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment was memorialized by his battalion April 29th here. A crowd of more than 500 Marines, sailors and soldiers gathered under a dark and cloudy sky for a memorial service to pay their last respects to a brave hero.
Dunham, from Scio, N.Y., died from his wounds April 24. Ten days earlier, the Marine dove on top of a grenade, absorbing nearly all the blast with his own body to save his fellow Marines.
"His was a selfless act of courage to save his fellow Marines," said Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Huff, sergeant major for 3rd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment."This generation of Marines is as good as any generation we've ever had in the Corps."
Dunham was manning a vehicle checkpoint near Husaybah after a convoy was ambushed April 14. He observed car pull up and a man jump From the vehicle, sprinting away. Dunham - in full combat gear - chased the man down, tackling him to the ground. Other Marines came to assist in the apprehension when the terrorist pulled a pin from a hand grenade. Dunham dove onto the grenade, taking the blast into his own body, saving the lives of his Marines. Dunham suffered serious wounds, along with two other Marines. But were it not for his actions, all three might have died.
new what he was doing," said Lance Cpl. Jason A. Sanders, 21,
McAllester, Okla., and a mortar man with Company K.
"He wanted to saveMarines' lives from that grenade."
"We told him he was crazy for coming out here," Dean explained. "He decided to come out here and fight with us. All he wanted was to make sure his boys made it back home."
Huff said commanders with the battalion are still awaiting eyewitness statements from Marines before determining at what level they will recommend Dunham for a decoration.
"What Corporal Dunham did equates to what a lot of heroes of our past have done to earn the nation's highest honor," explained Sgt. Maj. Wayne R. Bell, 1st Marine Division's Sergeant Major. "If it were up to me, he'd be put in for the Medal of Honor. From bits and pieces of what I'm hearing, it very well could be. "He'll be in the history books, like many of our Marines here," Bell added.
Dunham survived his wounds for ten days when his parents, Daniel K. Dunham and Natalie J. Sherwood made the decision to end life support for the Marine. According to Bell, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada were at Dunham's bedside with his parents at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland when he died.
"That in itself speaks volumes knowing that no matter who it is - General Officer or a corporal - his act alone warrants a visit from the Commandant,"Bell said. "I know that the Marines who are alive today, because of what Corporal Dunham did, will never forget that Marine as long as they live.
"Corporal Dunham is everybody's hero," Bell added. "He sacrificed his life so his Marines could continue the mission."
"God made something special.Return to Main Page