“All that we have has been given to us. What we do with what has been given, is how we honor those who gave.” – Master Gunnery Sergeant Adam Walker
What are you willing to do to fulfill your duty? Ask a Marine or any soldier from a military group and you might find yourself baffled with their answers.
We all know how dangerous a soldier’s job is, it’s not just about fighting for liberty and defeating terrorists. Little do we know, it’s also about protecting and saving your comrades.
This is a story of one man’s sacrifice to do just that.
On April 14th, 2004 on the dusty roads of Husaybah, Iraq, Cpl. Jason Dunham of the U.S. Marines laid down his life.
The story started when the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, LtCol Matthew Lopez conducted a meeting with local Iraqi officials.
As they were heading south towards Camp Husaybah, their convoy got ambushed as they were passing through the Husaybah-Karabilah Triangle.
They immediately jumped into action and went in for a hasty search of a line of vehicles at the back. The stakes were high because there could be other insurgents trying to flee.
But Cpl. Dunham’s senses were put on high alert.
He became suspicious of a white SUV so he dug in to search the vehicle. He was met by surprise with what he saw at the vehicle.
There were AK-47s and RPGs in the backseat.
The driver of the car jumped on Cpl. Dunham and started to wrestle with him on the ground. Private First Class Kelly Miller and Lance Corporal Bill Hampton rushed in to help him.
As they were trying to help Cpl. Dunham, he shouted and said, “NO, NO, WATCH HIS HAND!”
The man rolled out a grenade.
Private First Class Miller and Lance Corporal Hampton were unaware of the explosive weapon on the ground, so Cpl. Dunham jumped in to save them.
He used his Kevlar helmet and his own body to stifle the grenade.
It did little damage to Hampton and Miller. As expected, Cpl. Dunham took the most damage.
He was able to save Miller and Hampton by putting his own life on the line.
He incurred a massive head injury and was put on life-support. Soon, the doctors delivered the bad news to Dunham’s parents.
On April 22nd, 2004, Corporal Jason L. Dunham passed away at the age of 22.
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That was eight days after the incident, after saving his comrade’s lives. It’s an unhappy ending for his act of heroism but it’s definitely something Miller, Hampton, and the rest of the Marines have never forgotten, and never will.
Late Corporal Jason L. Dunham was given the Medal of Honor on January 11th, 2007.
He’s the first Marine to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
In 2009, a guided-missile destroyer was also named after him and called the USS Jason Dunham.
A documentary film titled “The Gift” is also in progress now.
Its focus is to tell the story of Dunham and the rest of the Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.
They still need to raise funds to make it possible, so if you want to see it, then make sure to drop your donations by visiting their website.
Watch the trailer below.
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