Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Medal of Honor Recipient has Passed


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.

At about 1430 hours on 8 January 1945, during an attack on Hill 616, near Kayserberg, France, T/Sgt. Dunham single-handedly assaulted 3 enemy machine guns. Wearing a white robe made of a mattress cover, carrying 12 carbine magazines and with a dozen hand grenades snagged in his belt, suspenders, and buttonholes, T/Sgt. Dunham advanced in the attack up a snow-covered hill under fire from 2 machine guns and supporting riflemen.

His platoon 35 yards behind him, T/Sgt. Dunham crawled 75 yards under heavy direct fire toward the timbered emplacement shielding the left machine gun. As he jumped to his feet 10 yards from the gun and charged forward, machine gun fire tore through his camouflage robe and a rifle bullet seared a 10-inch gash across his back sending him spinning 15 yards down hill into the snow.

When the indomitable sergeant sprang to his feet to renew his 1-man assault, a German egg grenade landed beside him. He kicked it aside, and as it exploded 5 yards away, shot and killed the German machine gunner and assistant gunner. His carbine empty, he jumped into the emplacement and hauled out the third member of the gun crew by the collar. Although his back wound was causing him excruciating pain and blood was seeping through his white coat, T/Sgt. Dunham proceeded 50 yards through a storm of automatic and rifle fire to attack the second machine gun.

Twenty-five yards from the emplacement he hurled 2 grenades, destroying the gun and its crew; then fired down into the supporting foxholes with his carbine dispatching and dispersing the enemy riflemen. Although his coat was so thoroughly blood-soaked that he was a conspicuous target against the white landscape, T/Sgt. Dunham again advanced ahead of his platoon in an assault on enemy positions farther up the hill. Coming under machinegun fire from 65 yards to his front, while rifle grenades exploded 10 yards from his position, he hit the ground and crawled forward. At 15 yards range, he jumped to his feet, staggered a few paces toward the timbered machinegun emplacement and killed the crew with hand grenades. An enemy rifleman fired at pointblank range, but missed him.

After killing the rifleman, T/Sgt. Dunham drove others from their foxholes with grenades and carbine fire. Killing 9 Germans--wounding 7 and capturing 2--firing about 175 rounds of carbine ammunition, and expending 11 grenades, T/Sgt. Dunham, despite a painful wound, spearheaded a spectacular and successful diversionary attack

And that's just the first part, here he teaches us the meaning of the Code of Conduct, Articles 2 and 3:

Dunham returned to the front before his wounds healed. On January 22 his battalion was surrounded by tanks, forcing most of the men to surrender. The following morning, two German soldiers discovered Dunham hiding in a sauerkraut barrel outside a barn. When their search of his pockets turned up a pack of cigarettes, they fought over it, overlooking his pistol in a shoulder holster.

Later that day as he was being transported toward German lines, the driver stopped in a bar, giving Dunham the opportunity to shoot his other captor in the head and set off toward the American lines. Dunham suffered severe frostbite completing his escape.

Yep, we lost a good one there.



MadRocketScientist said...

We lost a good one, but the man has certainly earned his rest.

Rustmeister said...

No doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

"[Conspicuous] gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party."

Yeah he fit the bill. Rest now brother, for you deserve eternal rest above that of most. peace be with you and yours forever.

TexasFred said...

Sometimes, even the CMH isn't enough...

Semper Fi!!

Moogie P said...

Rest peacefully in the midst of your buddies, gone before, and the arms of the Lord.

JR said...

WW2 veterans are leaving us rapidly of late. Most of the living are in their 80s and 90s now. God bless all of them for they were all heroes in one way or another, some greater than others of course.