Kings Bay Dedicates Barracks in Memory of Medal of Honor Recipient

August 20, 2007

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- The sweltering South Georgia heat and humidity could not keep more than 300 Marines, Sailors, family and guests from recognizing the sacrifice of Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Jason Dunham at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Aug. 17.

The Scio, N.Y. native who called Kings Bay home for two years when he was assigned to the Marine Corps Security Force Company, from 2001 to 2003, was honored during a barracks dedication ceremony in his name.

According to Kings Bay Marine Corps Security Force Company Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Andrew Murray, by naming the barracks after Dunham it will guarantee his place in history and as a role model.

“Jason Dunham is a Marine hero for today's era and for the future,” Murray stated during the dedication.
“Corporal Dunham will be a Marine leadership example to be emulated by future generations of Marines and Sailors.”

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Magnus said everyone in uniform shares the same commitment the Corps values suggest: Honor, Courage and Commitment. He said Dunham upheld these values through his actions and self-sacrifice.

“He made an instant decision to do what he had to do,” said Magnus. “He wanted to save the lives of his fellow Marines. “All the Marines who will reside in these barracks will always remember the ultimate sacrifice Jason Dunham made for the Marine Corps.”

Aaron Betts, a former Marine Sgt. and friend of Dunham while stationed at Kings Bay, traveled from Knoxville, Tenn., to be at the ceremony.

“I was devastated when I heard what happened,” he said. “He was a great teammate and natural leader who was dedicated to the people he worked with."

Betts and his wife Kimberly gave Dunham's mother, Deb, a small photo album of pictures she had never seen before. They embraced in a tearful hug.

"I will never forget what Jason did for his country, said Deb Dunham. “I believe everyone has a destiny and this was his.”

Dan Dunham, Jason's father, said meeting and talking with Marines helps with the grief process and has been mutually beneficial.

“Since January we have met over 10,000 Marines and parents," said Dan. “It helps with our healing and also with other parents who have lost their sons.”

Twenty-two-year-old Dunham and his squad were conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, near the Syrian border, April 14, 2004. Dunham led his team to assist another Marine squad that was under fire.

As his team started to receive enemy fire, Dunham ordered his fellow Marines to dismount the vehicle and travel on foot several blocks toward the ambush. Upon reaching the area, the Marines came across several vehicles attempting to leave the area.

During a search of one of the vehicles an Iraqi insurgent attacked Dunham. As he wrestled the insurgent to the ground, Dunham noticed the insurgent had released a live grenade. Dunham quickly jumped on the grenade, using his Kevlar helmet and body to smother the blast, saving the lives of two fellow Marines.

Dunham died eight days later with his parents at his side at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

President George W. Bush posthumously awarded Dunham the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony Jan. 11, 2007.

Dunham Barracks is home to more than 800 Marine and Navy master-at-arms who provide security for national assets at Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic at Kings Bay.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Michael Wiss,
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Georgia Public Affairs

August 17, 2007: Dan and Deb Dunham flanked by five Marines who served with Cpl. Jason Dunham in Iraq stand next to a memorial to their son outside the building dedicated in his name.

Page published Oct. 17, 2010