Medal of Honor Citations: http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/moh1.htm
History of the Medal of Honor: http://www.cmohs.org/medal/medal_history.htm
The Medal of Honor: “National Exhibition” http://www.themedal.com/portfolio-legacy-1.htm
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 http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=44553
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