The USS Jason Dunham was christened Saturday in honor of Cpl. Jason Dunham, U.S. Marines. Cpl. Dunham was killed in 2004 in Iraq after he covered a grenade with his own body and shielded the blast, saving two fellow Marines. Jason Dunham was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush in 2006.

USS Jason Dunham Christened

Cpl. Jason Dunham

Deb Dunham, Jason’s mother, christened the ship with a bottle of champagne; smashing the bottle on the bow of the 510 foot warship. The USS Jason Dunham is an Arleigh-Burke Class Destroyer. Dunham is one of only 6 individuals to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

On April 14, 2004, Cpl Jason Dunham and his squad of Marines were in Karabilah, Iraq manning a checkpoint. An insurgent leapt from his car and began choking Cpl. Dunham. Two of his fellow Marines rushed to his aide, when he shouted at them, “No, No. Watch his hand.” The insurgent dropped a grenade and Cpl. Dunham reacted without hesitation; he took off his Kevlar helmet and placed it over the grenade, he then covered the grenade with his own body shielding his fellow soldiers from the blast. They were all three wounded; Cpl. Dunham died 8 days later.

Retired General Michael Hagee said at the ceremony:

The warship will serve as a reminder that freedom “is paid for by the men and women who wear the cloth of this nation.”

“They are willing to give up everything that is important: love, marriage, children, family, friends,” Hagee said of the 22-year-old Marine. “I can tell you I’ve always stood in awe of that.”

I myself have also stood in awe of the sacrifices by brave men and women throughout our history, who have given everything for our freedom. Not all of them have been awarded and honored in this way, but they are to be remembered none the less.

The USS Jason Dunham was christened in Bath, Maine, in the Bath Iron Works Shipyard. Dunham’s mother said that it was fitting that the USS Jason Dunham was a guided-missile Destroyer, given the circumstances of her son’s death.

Cpl. Jason Dunham is the first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

Cpl. Jason Dunham Tribute