SCIO, NY, USA U.S. Marines CPL, K CO, 3D BN, 7TH MAR, (RCT-7), 1ST MARDIV, TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA BETHESDA 04/22/2004
Jason Dunham was born November 10, 1981 in Scio, New York and lived his entire life in Scio, graduating from Scio High school in 2000. Jason joined the Marine Corps in 2000 after graduating from high school. After completing recruit training, he served as a Security Force sentry at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.
On November 10, 2006, at the dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, President George W. Bush announced that Corporal Dunham would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on April 14, 2004 near Husaybah, Iraq. Jason became the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq, and the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. President George W. Bush presented the Medal of Honor to Jason’s family during a ceremony in the East Room Thursday, January 11, 2007.
As a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, Jason served with 4th Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (3/7), 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While fighting with his unit in Karabilah, Iraq, an enemy soldier threw a grenade that landed next to him. Rather than allow the grenade to explode and kill or injure not only himself but several other Marines in the area he sacrificed himself and dove on top of the grenade. When it exploded Dunham was seriously injured and died eight days later. He was 26. Shortly beforehand, Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee presented Dunham with the Purple Heart. General Hagee, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps John L. Estrada and Dunham’s parents were at his bedside when he died. He was buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Scio New York.
In addition to the Medal of Honor and his other military decorations Dunham has also received other honors including being the namesake of a United States Navy destroyer, a post office and a Marine Corps barracks.
On March 20, 2007, the Navy reported that a new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer would be named the USS Jason Dunham, in his honor. On March 23, 2007, Navy Secretary Donald Winter officially announced the naming of the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109). The keel was laid at a ceremony on April 11, 2008, at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The ship was christened on August 1, 2009, with Dunham’s mother, Debra, acting as the ship’s sponsor. A piece of Dunham’s helmet will be encased in the mast.
On April 11, 2007, The Periscope, the base newspaper for Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, reported that the Marine Corps Security Force Barracks is to be renamed the Corporal Jason Dunham Barracks in late June 2007. Dunham had served at the base from 2001-2003.
In 2004, Michael M. Phillips, staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, wrote an article summarizing Dunham’s actions that appeared on page A1, column 1 of the May 25 Journal. In 2005, Phillips published, through Broadway Books, The Gift of Valor: A War Story, which told Dunham’s life story.