President Bush honored Marine Corporal Jason Dunham today (posthumously) by bestowing the nation’s highest award for valor upon him – the Medal of Honor.
This is not a club to which anyone aspires to be in, yet those who belong deserve more recognition, appreciation and admiration than words can begin to describe. Its latest member – like those before him – have truly demonstrated the very best of character, courage and commitment that our nation has to offer.
Here is Corporal Jason Dunham’s citation as it was read at the White House:
The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to Corporal Jason L. Dunham, United States Marine Corps for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as rifle squad leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines reinforced Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division reinforced. On 14 April 2004, Cpl Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karbala, Iraq, when they heard a rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately 2 kilometers to the west. Cpl Dunham led his combined anti-armor team towards the engagement to provide fire support to the battalion commander’s convoy which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Huseba. As Cpl Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly begin to receive enemy fire. Cpl 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, Cpl Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leapt out and attacked Cpl Dunham. Cpl Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Cpl Dunham immediately alerted his fellow marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Cpl Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow marines. By his undaunting courage, intrepid fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty, Cpl Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
To Jason’s parents, Dan and Deb Dunham, we owe the thanks of a grateful nation. Jason Dunham is an American Hero.
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