USA — Navy Commissions New Guided Missile Destroyer Jason Dunham

The Navy will com­mis­sion the newest Arleigh Burke class guid­ed-mis­sile destroy­er, Jason Dun­ham, dur­ing a 10 a.m. EST cer­e­mo­ny Sat­ur­day, Nov. 13, 2010, at Port Ever­glades, Fort Laud­erdale, Fla. The new destroy­er hon­ors Cpl. Jason L. Dun­ham, the first Marine award­ed the Medal of Hon­or for Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom.

Com­man­dant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos will deliv­er the ceremony’s prin­ci­pal address. Debra Dun­ham will serve as spon­sor of the ship named for her late son. The cer­e­mo­ny will be high­light­ed by a time-hon­ored Navy tra­di­tion when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Dun­ham was born in Scio, N.Y., Nov. 10, 1981, shar­ing the same birth­day as the U.S. Marine Corps. On April 14, 2004, Dunham’s squad was con­duct­ing a recon­nais­sance mis­sion in Kara­bi­lah, Iraq, when his bat­tal­ion commander’s con­voy was ambushed. When Dunham’s squad approached to pro­vide fire sup­port, an Iraqi insur­gent leapt out of a vehi­cle and attacked Dun­ham. As Dun­ham wres­tled the insur­gent to the ground, he noticed that the ene­my fight­er had a grenade in his hand and imme­di­ate­ly alert­ed his fel­low Marines. When the ene­my dropped the live grenade, Dun­ham took off his Kevlar hel­met, cov­ered the grenade, and threw him­self on top to smoth­er the blast. In an ulti­mate self­less act of courage, in which he was mor­tal­ly wound­ed, he saved the lives of two fel­low Marines.

Des­ig­nat­ed DDG 109, Jason Dun­ham, the 59th Arleigh Burke-class destroy­er, will be able to con­duct a vari­ety of oper­a­tions, from peace­time pres­ence and cri­sis man­age­ment to sea con­trol and pow­er pro­jec­tion. Jason Dun­ham will be capa­ble of fight­ing air, sur­face and sub­sur­face bat­tles simul­ta­ne­ous­ly and will con­tain a myr­i­ad of offen­sive and defen­sive weapons designed to sup­port mar­itime war­fare in keep­ing with “A Coop­er­a­tive Strat­e­gy for 21st Cen­tu­ry Seapow­er.”

Cmdr. M. Scott Sciret­ta, born in South Amboy, N.J., will become the first com­mand­ing offi­cer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 offi­cers and enlist­ed per­son­nel. The 9,200-ton Jason Dun­ham was built by Bath Iron Works, a Gen­er­al Dynam­ics com­pa­ny. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a water­line beam of 59 feet, and a nav­i­ga­tion­al draft of 31 feet. Four gas tur­bine engines will pow­er the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The com­mis­sion­ing cer­e­mo­ny will be web­cast live at the fol­low­ing loca­tion: .

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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