"Devotion" by Matt Hall, courtesy of Valor Studios

It might seem like an April Fool’s joke: The Navy commissioned its newest destroyer on April 1 and named it after a man who deliberately crash-landed a perfectly good aircraft behind enemy lines. But the man who lent his name to the USS Thomas Hudner had a damn good reason, perhaps the best of reasons.

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Department of Defense photo via Wikimedia Commons/Task & Purpose photo illustration by Matt Battaglia

On April 14, 2004, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, a squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, was leading his men on a mission near Karabilah, Iraq. A call came through that the battalion commander’s convoy was under attack by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Hopping into Humvees, the Marines made their way toward Camp Husaybah, two kilometers away.

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