PCU Jason Dunham Sailors Participate in Inaugural Medal of Honor 5K Run

Story Number: NNS101109-02Release Date: 11/9/2010 5:37:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin Cuaron, PCU Jason Dunham (DDG 109) Public Affairs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors stationed aboard Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Jason Dunham (DDG 109) participated in a Medal of Honor 5-kilometer run at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nov. 6.

The run was held in recognition of the commissioning of the Navy's newest Arleigh Burk-class guided-missile destroyer.

The ship is named after Marine Corps Cpl. Jason Dunham who was mortally wounded by insurgents in Iraq in April 2004 and posthumously received the Medal of Honor Jan. 11, 2007.

"It's nice to be out here and participate in a event like this," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Greg Morissette. "I just came from the USS Cole (DDG 67) and to be part of a ship that is named after a fallen hero makes me proud to serve."

Before the start of the race, the event coordinator, Tom Powers, welcomed all Sailors and thanked the many volunteers for their support.

"It's good to see the ship's crew and everyone from the local community coming out to support this event," said Powers. "I just want to say thank you to the service members for what they you are doing and good luck to you, your ship and your careers."

Gunner's Mate 2nd Class George Henry was PCU Jason Dunham's first male Sailor to cross the finish line with a time of 20:30 and Lt. j.g. Allysia Hood was the first female Sailor to finish at 27:14.

"I was really excited about today, and I just wanted to come out and do the best I can for myself and the ship," said Henry.

More than 18 Sailors participated in the event, but for some, just coming out and running is their way of saying thanks to a fallen hero.

"This was an awesome event to participate in," said PCU Jason Dunham Chief Engineer Lt. Amalon Aneson. "The motivation that the Sailors showed today was great."

During the ship's port visit, the crew will be taking part in numerous community outreach programs such as Habitat for Humanity, and they will also be assisting three local schools contributing in a total of more than 300 community service hours.

Jason Dunham was the first Marine to be awarded with the Medal of Honor during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Marine to receive the medal since the Vietnam War.

The ship will be officially commissioned Nov. 13 during a ceremony at Port Everglades, Fla.

Watch the ship's commissioning live on Navy.mil at www.navy.mil Nov. 13.

For more news from PCU Jason Dunham (DDG 109), visit www.navy.mil/local/ddg109/.

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