Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
It's the birthday of the Marine Corps — and its first Post-9/11 Medal of Honor recipient
On April 14, 2004, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham saved the lives of his fellow Marines when he jumped on top of an enemy grenade and shielded them from the blast.
Dunham succumbed to his wounds eight days later, and later became the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. He was born on Nov. 10, 1981 — the Marine Corps Birthday. Today, he would have turned 38.
Born in Scio, New York, Dunham joined the Marine Corps in July 2000, where he was first assigned to guard the naval submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga. In 2003, he was transferred to the 29 Palms, California-based 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine regiment, and deployed to Iraq in 2004.
Sometime that spring, Dunham and two other Marines, pulling security, swapped theories about what they'd do if a grenade landed nearby. Second Lt. Brian Robinson said he'd lay face down and hold it between his forearms and his flak jacket to absorb the blast, The Wall Street Journal's Michael Philips reported.
Dunham, however, thought he could take his Kevlar helmet off and smother the grenade, before jumping on top of it. "I'll bet a Kevlar would stop it," he said.
On April 14, he tested his theory.
That day, Dunham was leading his squad on a patrol in Husaybah, Iraq to look for possible fighters fleeing an attack on his battalion commander's convoy. Stopping a line of cars and attempting to search, Dunham approached a white Toyota Land Cruiser.
The driver leapt out and attacked him.
As James Clark wrote for Task & Purpose:
As they struggled, two Marines, Pfc. Kelly Miller, and Lance Cpl. William B. Hampton, rushed forward to help. According to The Wall Street Journal, Dunham was heard yelling "No, no, no — watch his hand!" as a grenade rolled to the ground. The pin had been pulled and the spoon was gone. The grenade was live.
Without hesitation, Dunham leapt on top of it. Covering the grenade with his Kevlar helmet and body, he absorbed the full impact of the blast.
Dunham survived the initial explosion, but succumbed to his wounds on April 22, 2004. His selfless sacrifice saved the lives of at least two other Marines, at the cost of his own. He was 22.
Dunham wasn't supposed to be on the deployment to Iraq, as Clark notes. His end of active service date in July 2004 would have kept him stateside, but Dunham extended his contract by several months so he could stay with his Marines. "I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive," he told one of his lance corporals, according to The Journal. "I want to be sure you go home to your wife alive."
For the first time in more than five years, Sgt. Mark Dean, one of Medal of Honor recipient and Cpl. Jason Dunham's close friends, and Maj. Trent A. Gibson, Dunham's former company commander, carefully sort out the pieces of the Kevlar helmet Dunham used to help absorb the blast of a grenade. assets.rebelmouse.io
Dunham's parents were presented with his Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony on Jan. 11, 2007. Dunham was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
"He was the guy who signed on for an extra two months in Iraq so he could stay with his squad," President George W. Bush said during the ceremony. "As he explained it, he wanted to make sure that everyone makes it home alive. Cpl. Dunham took that promise seriously and would give his own life to make it good."
Happy birthday, Jason, and happy birthday, Marines.
Read Dunham's Medal of Honor citation below:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west.
Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal 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, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham.
Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal 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 undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal 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.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.