Sunday, April 13, 2008

No Greater Love...

Requiescat in Pace, Cpl. Jason Dunham
(November 10, 1981 - April 22, 2004)

All of these hurt, but this one hits a bit too close to home -- a Marine from Scio, NY, a tiny town an hour or so away from here, Cpl. Jason Dunham (note his birthdate!) earned his posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor much the same way as PO2 Monsoor did. He wrestled an insurgent who pulled a pin on a grenade, called out the warning, and used his body as a shield to save his fellow Marines. A Navy Ship - a missile destroyer, no less - has been named in his honor, its "keeling" will be in May of this year. From the official citation:

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.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13)

Godspeed, Cpl. Dunham, and may all Sailors and Marines who take to the seas on the ship bearing your name recall and honor you, and serve safely and with distinction.

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