USCGC Richard Etheridge (WPC-1102)

Photo of the USCGC Richard Etheridge

Launched in August of 2011, the USCGC Richard Etheridge (WPC-1102) became the second of the United States Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class cutters. The vessel was officially delivered to the Coast Guard on May 26, 2012, at Key West, Florida, and was commissioned into service in Port Everglades, Florida, on August 3, 2012.

About Captain Richard Etheridge, Keeper, USSLS

Captain Richard Etheridge, a Union Army veteran, became the first African American to command a Life-Saving station when the service appointed him as the keeper of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station in North Carolina in 1880. The Revenue Cutter Service officer who recommended his appointment, First Lieutenant Charles F. Shoemaker, noted that Etheridge was “one of the best surfmen on this part of the coast of North Carolina.” Soon after Etheridge’s appointment, the station burned down. Determined to execute his duties with expert commitment, Etheridge supervised the construction of a new station on the original site. He also developed rigorous lifesaving drills that enabled his crew to tackle all lifesaving tasks. His station earned the reputation of “one of the tautest on the Carolina Coast,” with its keeper well-known as one of the most courageous and ingenious lifesavers in the Service. Read more…

USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109)

USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named after U.S. Marine Corps corporal Jason Dunham, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the Iraq War.

About Marine Corporal Jason Lee Dunham, USMC

Jason Lee Dunham, the first Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient for Operation Iraqi Freedom, was born 10 November 1981 in Scio, New York. He graduated from Scio Central School in early 2000 and left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in July of that year.

Following his first duty assignment with Marine Corps Security Forces, Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Georgia, Cpl Dunham transferred to the infantry. He was eventually assigned to Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, California, and deployed with that unit to Iraq in early 2004.

On 14 April 2004, Cpl Dunham was participating in a reconnaissance mission as a Rifle Squad Leader for 4th Platoon, Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard gun-fire erupt a short distance away following the ambush of a Marine convoy. Cpl Dunham quickly ordered his squad toward the fighting. He and his team soon were receiving enemy fire and dismounted their vehicles to proceed on foot. Cpl Dunham and his team discovered seven Iraqi vehicles attempting to depart the area and began stopping the vehicles to search them for weapons. As the Marines approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Cpl Dunham. Cpl Dunham wrestled the man to the ground but noticed that the insurgent had released a grenade during the struggle. Cpl Dunham shouted a warning to his fellow Marines before covering the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the fatal explosion himself and saving the lives of at least two other Marines.

Corporal Dunham died of his wounds eight days later at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, at the age of 22. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Scio at Fairlawn Cemetery. Read more…