A few weeks back, Prof. Marion Dreyfus presented a poem about a soldier who dove onto a grenade to save the lives of his buddies. Our list's best historian had some technical objections about the plausibility of this story, which I'm sure were true. Nevertheless, occasionally something like this happens. Jason Dunham (1981-2004), on January 11, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after he dove onto a live grenade and covered it with his kevlar helmet, saving the lives of two of his men.

In April 2004, during an attack near Iraq's Syrian border, Corporal Dunham was assaulted by an insurgent who jumped out of a vehicle that was about to be searched. As Corporal Dunham wrestled the man to the ground, the insurgent rolled out a grenade he had been hiding. Corporal Dunham did not hesitate. He jumped on the grenade, using his helmet and body to absorb the blast. Although he survived the initial explosion, he did not survive his wounds. But by his selflessness, Corporal Dunham saved the lives of two of his men, and showed the world what it means to be a Marine. [Read more here]

Stefan Jovanovich comments:

My objection was about the physical impossibility of diving on an IED, not the implausibility of any story of heroism. I have been blessed to know three WW II veterans who were truly heroic. My uncle George was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne at the Battle of the Bulge, and he spent three days of the battle with a carbine bullet in his right foot. The Army Medical Corps was able to save his leg, but for the rest of his too short life he walked like the Elephant Man and had one shoe twice the size of the other. He never once mentioned any awards he received; to this day I don't even know if he received any. My father-in-law, Buster Turner, was on a minesweeper at Saipan and Okinawa. That may not sound particularly heroic until you consider that the mine sweepers went in before the landing craft and worked their way parallel to the beaches (which tends to simple any problem the enemy has about ranging its target). In the 40+ years I knew him, Buster never talked about what he had done or seen. I think he put up with me in large measure because I had the good sense never to ask him. My CO at the Fleet Sonar School was a cruiser sailor in WW II at Ironbottom Sound and a survivor of two sinkings. The first time anyone on the base knew what he had done was at his retirement ceremony after 30 years. Watching him sitting on the podium squirming in his chair as the speaker recited his awards is the only time I ever saw him flustered. Marion may well know WW II veterans who "bragged about their spit shines to their children" but the only ones I have ever met were right out of the movies - they had shoveled shit in Louisiana and lied about it ever since. It might interest the List members to know that, measured against the total number of combat days (# of men and women being shot at x number of days), there have been fewer MOH awards granted in this war than there were in the first Gulf War and far, far fewer (less than a third as many) than there were in Viet-Nam. The record for MOH awards relative to combat days remains the Spanish-American War. That does not make those Spanish-American War MOH awards gedunk ribbons, but it does confirm what any thinking person should already know: the truth is always in the "technical" details.


WordPress database error: [Table './dailyspeculations_com_@002d_dailywordpress/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '694' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date




Speak your mind


Resources & Links