USS JASON DUNHAM


Namesake

Jason DunhamCorporal Jason L. Dunham was born on 10 November 1981 in Scio, New York. The date may seem insignificant to those who don't know its history. The ones who do know its significance celebrate this day - faithfully - each year. November 10th is the United States Marine Corps birthday... a birthday that Jason Dunham shares.

Corporal Jason L. Dunham was 22 years old when he left us. He came from the small town of Scio (sigh-oh) population 1900. It’s the kind of town where everyone knows your name... where values and respect still mean something. It was here, along a winding country road filled with rolling-meadows, and a swift moving creek, that Jason L. Dunham was brought into this world.

As you turn into the Dunham’s long driveway that leads to their house, the breeze catches a yellow ribbon tied to the mailbox and the story begins to unfold. The further you drive; two flags adorn the front porch, an American flag and the United States Marine Corps flag. And both seem to play the same quiet song, and yet both stand tall for this fallen young man. There is a final reminder that Jason Dunham is no longer with us… a blue star in the front window has been replaced by a gold star, symbolizing the Dunham family loss.

On April 14, 2004, 3 days after Easter Sunday, Corporal Dunham was manning a checkpoint in Karabilah, Iraq, when an insurgent leapt from his car and began choking Corporal Dunham. A scuffle ensued as two Marines approached to help. Reportedly, the last words from Corporal Dunham were, “No, No. Watch his hand.” Suddenly, the insurgent dropped a grenade. Corporal Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, dropped to the ground, and covered the explosive as best he could.

The blast seriously wounded all 3 Marines. Eight days later, Corporal Jason L. Dunham died at Bethesda Naval Hospital from wounds he received in the incident. He was 22.

Corporal Dunham made the ultimate sacrifice, and in doing so saved the lives of his fellow Marines. Due to his actions on that fateful day, Corporal Dunham has been awarded the Medal of Honor.