When are you ready to carry out a call of duty? If you ask a Marine or other soldier from a combat unit, you might be baffled by their responses.
We are all aware of how dangerous a soldier’s work is; it is more than simply fighting for liberty and battling terrorists. However, it is also about defending or saving your teammates.
Cpl. Jason Dunham of the United States Marine Corps died on the sandy roads of Husaybah, Iraq, on April 14, 2004.
The story began when Lt Col Matthew Lopez, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, met with local Iraqi authorities.
Their convoy was ambushed as they passed through the Husaybah-Karabilah Triangle on their way south to Camp Husaybah.
They reacted immediately and went in for a quick scan of a line of cars in the rear. The stakes were high and other rebels may be attempting to escape.
Cpl. Dunham’s senses, on the other hand, were on high alert.
He became suspicious of a white SUV and dug in to find it. He was taken aback by what he saw in the car. In the backseat, there were AK-47s and RPGs.
The car’s driver jumped on Cpl. Dunham and began wrestling him on the track. Lance Corporal Bill Hampton and Private First Class Kelly Miller jumped in to assist.
As they were attempting to assist Cpl. Dunham suddenly yelled: “NO, NO, WATCH HIS HAND!” The insurgent pulled a hand grenade.
Cpl. Dunham had rushed in to rescue Private First Class Miller and Lance Corporal Hampton, as they were unaware of this explosive device.
He encased the enemy grenade with his helmet and body. The grenade exploded: Hampton and Miller were safe. Cpl. Dunham took the most injury, as predicted.
By putting his own life in danger, he was able to rescue Miller and Hampton.
He suffered a severe brain injury and was put on life support at Bethesda Naval Hospital, where his parents were able to say a final farewell.
Corporal Jason L. Dunham died on April 22, 2004, at the age of 22.
That was eight days after the incident, saving lives of his comrades. It’s an unfortunate conclusion to his heroic deed, but it’s something Miller, Hampton, and the rest of the Marines will never forget. On January 11th, 2007, late Corporal Jason L. Dunham was awarded the Medal of Honor.
He is the first Marine to be honored with the award since the Vietnam War.
The USS Jason Dunham, a guided-missile destroyer, was also named after him in 2009. A feature film titled “The Gift” is also in the works.