Image: Jason Dunham
AP file
Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, 22, died in 2004.
updated 3/20/2007 10:01:15 PM ET 2007-03-21T02:01:15

The U.S. Navy will name a destroyer after Cpl. Jason Dunham, a young Marine from western New York who fell on a grenade in Iraq to save his comrades.

Dunham was already posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for the selfless act. The emotional White House ceremony in January was attended by President Bush and the Marine's parents.

Dunham, of Scio, N.Y., saved at least two lives by acting quickly during a struggle with an insurgent near the Syrian border.

The Navy will name its newest guided missile destroyer the USS Jason Dunham, New York lawmakers said Tuesday. A formal ceremony in Scio with Navy Secretary Donald Winters is scheduled for Friday.

Sen. Charles Schumer called the destroyer naming "another fitting tribute to his life and humbling heroism."

Rep. Randy Kuhl, R-Hammondsport, whose district includes Scio, said the destroyer will be another way to ensure that "Jason and his heroic, selfless acts will long be remembered."

In April 2004, Dunham, 22, 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 armor plate, absorbed some of the blast.

He lived long enough to be transferred to a Bethesda, Md., hospital, where he died with his parents beside him.

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