Honoring the following Marines and Sailors from 3d Battalion, 7th Marines.
Seaman Joshua McIntosh, Pfc. Rick A. Morris, Jr., LCpl. Christopher B. Wasser, LCpl. Elias Torrez III, Cpl. Christopher Alan Gibson, LCpl. Michael J. Smith, Jr., LCpl. Ruben Valdez, Jr., LCpl. Gary F. VanLeuven, Major Richard John Gannon II, Cpl. Jason Lee Dunham, Cpl. Dallas Lee Kerns, Lance Cpl. Michael Steven Torres, LCpl. John J. Van Gyzen IV, Gunnery Sgt. Elia Fontecchio, LCpl. Joseph L. Nice, Lance Cpl. Jacob Raul Lugo, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Samuel Valdez Perez, LCpl. Shane C. Swanberg, Lance Cpl. Andrew Dennis Bedard, Lance Cpl. Sergio Hernandez Escobar, Cpl. Jonathan Ross Spears, Cpl. Joseph Phillip Bier, Lance Cpl. Samuel Tapia, Cpl. Matthew D. Conley, 2nd Lt. Almar L. Fitzgerald, LCpl. Adam John Van Alstine, LCpl. John J. Thornton, Cpl. Adam Oliver Zanutto and LCpl. Kristin K. Marino.
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.
Sgt. Mark Dean, one of Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Jason Dunham’s close friends, and his wife Becky lift their 18 month-old son, Aiden, after the christening of the Navy destroyer bearing his friends name Aug. 1 at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
On this day in Rogue History, Corporal Jason Dunham of the Marines died in 2004 after sacrificing himself to save his men. He is the first Medal of Honor recipient of the Iraq War and the first Marine to recipient since the Vietnam War.
While serving as a squad leader in Iraq, Dunham and his squad were sent to investigate cars near the scene of an attack. After the squad discovered weapons in one of the cars, the driver left the vehicle and began attacking the squad. Dunham engaged the driver in hand-to-hand combat, but the driver dropped an armed grenade in the process. Without regard for his own life, Dunham threw himself onto the grenade and attempted to use his combat helmet to shield himself and his men. Dunham was severely injured from the explosion and was brought back to the U.S., where he was diagnosed with brain damage and deemed unlikely to recover. He was taken off of life support 8 days later. Because of his heroic actions, he was awarded a Purple Heart shortly before he died and a Medal of Honor posthumously. He was 22 years old.