« Communications: Critical to Marines on the Battlefield | Main | New warship named for lifesaving Marine »

Warship honors heroic Marine

Destroyer will be christened Saturday

The name of a brave young man from Scio forever will be remembered by the sailors and Marines who set foot on a warship about to be christened.


By Maki Becker
July 31, 2009

Saturday, at a ceremony at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine, a 500-foot guided-missile destroyer officially will be named for Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who gave his life saving two fellow Marines.

On April 14, 2005, Dunham’s unit went to the aid of a Marine convoy under attack in Husaybah, a town in western Iraq. An insurgent in one of the vehicles stopped while trying to flee, pulled out a grenade and attacked Dunham.

Dunham, just 22 and on his second tour in Iraq, put his helmet over the grenade and then jumped on top of the helmet to try to absorb the blast.

The grenade detonated, mortally wounding Dunham. He died 10 days later in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, with his parents, Dan and Deb Dunham, at his side.

In 2006, President George W. Bush announced that Dunham would be honored with the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor. He was the first Marine to receive the medal in the Iraq War.

Saturday, Dunham’s parents

and their three other children are expected to be on hand at the christening ceremony.

Deb Dunham will do the honors by smashing a bottle of champagne against the brand new ship.

“We’re totally amazed that this happened,” Deb Dunham told The Buffalo News in March 2007 when the decision to name the warship after her late son was announced. “We thought it was very appropriate.”

She was not only touched by the gesture, but also surprised at how quickly it came about. “I anticipated that it would be 10 or 20 years before we saw this.”