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.
When they arrived, the Marines split into two teams to search for the shooters. When Dunham and his men came to an intersection and saw a line of cars along a dirt alleyway, they began searching the vehicles for weapons. As Dunham approached a rundown white Toyota Land Cruiser, the driver, wearing a black tracksuit, leapt from the vehicle and the two tumbled to the ground.
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. Read more...