March 25th 2007 First Medal of Honor Day

Medal of Honor Citations:

History of the Medal of Honor:

The Medal of Honor: “National Exhibition”

President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill in December 1861 and the Navy Medal of Honor was created to acknowledge the recipients ‘gallantry’ (selflessness and bravery) during combat to protect his fellow brothers and country. February 1862, the Medal of Honor was established for the Army. The Airforce Medal of Honor was approved by Congress in 1956, and has been in effect since 1965.

“Only 112 of the 3,444 medal recipients are living today. Two have been awarded for actions in Iraq, both posthumously: Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham died after diving on a grenade to save his fellow troops, while Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith was killed while protecting his troops as they evacuated wounded soldiers from the battlefield. ” from Stars & Stripes

From the DOD site: “The Department of Navy announced today that the Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer will be named the USS Jason Dunham, honoring Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, made the announcement in Dunham’s hometown of Scio, N.Y. “Jason Dunham, the friendly, kind-hearted, gifted athlete who followed his star in the United States Marine Corps, went on to become one of the most courageous, heroic and admired Marines this great country has ever known,” said Winter. “His name will be forever associated with DDG 109. May those who serve in her always be inspired by the heroic deeds of Jason Dunham, and may all of us strive to be worthy of his sacrifice.”


Dunham was born in Scio, Nov. 10, 1981, sharing the same birthday as the U.S. Marine Corps. After high school graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 2000 and completed recruit training 13 weeks later at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C.


Following his first duty assignment with Marine Corps Security Forces, Kings Bay, Ga., Dunham transferred to the infantry and was later assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif. Before deploying to Iraq in spring 2004, Dunham was selected to lead a rifle squad, a position that ultimately placed him on the front line in the war against the Iraqi insurgency.


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. He immediately alerted his fellow Marines, and 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.”



Sgt. Smith Medal of Honor


2 Responses to “March 25th 2007 First Medal of Honor Day”

  1. olotliny Says:,15240,146527,00.html?
    Barracks Dedicated to MoH Recipient
    Navy News | PO2 Michael Wiss | August 20, 2007
    Kings Bay, GA. — The sweltering South Georgia heat and humidity could not keep more than 300 Marines, Sailors, family and guests from recognizing the sacrifice of Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Jason Dunham at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Aug. 17.

    The Scio, N.Y. native who called Kings Bay home for two years when he was assigned to the Marine Corps Security Force Company, from 2001 to 2003, was honored during a barracks dedication ceremony in his name.

    According to Kings Bay Marine Corps Security Force Company Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Andrew Murray, by naming the barracks after Dunham it will guarantee his place in history and as a role model.

    “Jason Dunham is a Marine hero for today’s era and for the future,” Murray stated during the dedication.
    “Corporal Dunham will be a Marine leadership example to be emulated by future generations of Marines and Sailors.”

    Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Magnus said everyone in uniform shares the same commitment the Corps values suggest: Honor, Courage and Commitment. He said Dunham upheld these values through his actions and self-sacrifice.

    “He made an instant decision to do what he had to do,” said Magnus. “He wanted to save the lives of his fellow Marines. “All the Marines who will reside in these barracks will always remember the ultimate sacrifice Jason Dunham made for the Marine Corps.”

    Aaron Betts, a former Marine Sgt. and friend of Dunham while stationed at Kings Bay, traveled from Knoxville, Tenn., to be at the ceremony.

    “I was devastated when I heard what happened,” he said. “He was a great teammate and natural leader who was dedicated to the people he worked with.”

    Betts and his wife Kimberly gave Dunham’s mother, Deb, a small photo album of pictures she had never seen before. They embraced in a tearful hug.

    “I will never forget what Jason did for his country, said Deb Dunham. “I believe everyone has a destiny and this was his.”

    Dan Dunham, Jason’s father, said meeting and talking with Marines helps with the grief process and has been mutually beneficial.

    “Since January we have met over 10,000 Marines and parents,” said Dan. “It helps with our healing and also with other parents who have lost their sons.”

    Twenty-two-year-old Dunham and his squad were conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, near the Syrian border, April 14, 2004. Dunham led his team to assist another Marine squad that was under fire.

    As his team started to receive enemy fire, Dunham ordered his fellow Marines to dismount the vehicle and travel on foot several blocks toward the ambush. Upon reaching the area, the Marines came across several vehicles attempting to leave the area.

    During a search of one of the vehicles an Iraqi insurgent attacked Dunham. As he wrestled the insurgent to the ground, Dunham noticed the insurgent had released a live grenade. Dunham quickly jumped on the grenade, using his Kevlar helmet and body to smother the blast, saving the lives of two fellow Marines.

    Dunham died eight days later with his parents at his side at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

    President George W. Bush posthumously awarded Dunham the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony Jan. 11, 2007.

    Dunham Barracks is home to more than 800 Marine and Navy master-at-arms who provide security for national assets at Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic at Kings Bay.

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