Archive for January 12th, 2007

‘Ten Hut!’ Medal of Honor

January 12, 2007

Bush awards fallen Marine Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON — A young Marine who fell on a hand grenade in Iraq two years ago, giving his life to save comrades, was given the Medal of Honor Thursday by President Bush, becoming only the second Iraq war recipient of the prestigious award.Bush awarded the medal, the nation’s highest military decoration, to the late Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham of Scio, N.Y. Dunham’s parents accepted on their son’s behalf during the somber ceremony in the White House’s East Room.

“He was the guy who signed on for an extra two months in Iraq so he could stay with his squad. As he explained it, he wanted to ‘make sure that everyone makes it home alive,’ ” the president said. “Corporal Dunham took that promise seriously and would give his own life to make it good.”

Immediately after, Bush left for an Army fort in Georgia that must now send troops off to Iraq more quickly than expected.

Thursday’s agenda of military themes came as Bush’s new Iraq war plan faced a showdown with the Democrats who lead Congress and oppose the plan’s centerpiece — another escalation in the American force level. In a speech to the nation Wednesday night, Bush said he would send 21,500 additional U.S. forces to Iraq to try to stabilize Baghdad and troubled Anbar province, despite objections from lawmakers, some of his own generals and the public.

In April 2004, Dunham, a 22-year-old corporal, received a report that a Marine convoy had been ambushed, according to a Marine Corps account. Dunham led his men to the site near Husaybah, halting a convoy of departing cars. An insurgent in one of the vehicles grabbed him by the throat when he went to search the car and the two fought. A grenade was dropped, and Dunham covered the explosive with his Kevlar helmet, which along with his chest plate absorbed some of the blast.

He died a few days later.

“I’ve lost my son but he became a part of history,” Dunham’s mother, Deb, said after the ceremony. “It still hurts as a parent, but the pride that you have from knowing he did the right thing makes it easier.”

At Fort Benning, Ga., Bush was to have lunch with about 200 soldiers and 100 of their family members before delivering a speech that revisits his retooled war strategy.

The president also was to watch a demonstration of infantry training and meet privately with families who have lost loved ones.

The 3rd Brigade of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Benning, will deploy early to Iraq to support Bush’s plan. Soldiers there were in line to go to Iraq in the coming months, and that timetable has been accelerated.

Bush awards fallen Marine Medal of Honor –

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