23 Feb 1920 - 6 Apr 2009
ZUI this article from the St Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch:
Russell Dunham, a World War II veteran who won the Medal of Honor, died of heart failure in his home in Godfrey on Monday (April 6, 2009). He was 89.
Mr. Dunham won the nation's highest military honor for his bravery during a battle near Kayserberg, France, on Jan. 8, 1945.
In a 1999 interview, Mr. Dunham told the Post-Dispatch he wasn't aware of being in great danger at the time, or in other battles. "Once you get into battle, you forget your fears," Mr. Dunham said.
A member of the 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, Mr. Dunham fought in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, earning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and almost every other combat medal available.
Mr. Dunham was born in East Carondelet [Illinois] in 1920 and spent his youth around Fosterburg in Madison County. When he was about 16, he went to live with his older brother Ralph in St. Louis for several years. They sold soup, hot tamales and other items on the streets.
After his military service, Mr. Dunham went on to work as a benefits counselor with the VA in St. Louis for about 30 years. He got veterans signed up for benefits before they arrived home, said his stepdaughter, Annette Wilson of Godfrey.
In addition to his stepdaughter and granddaughter, among the survivors are a daughter, Mary Neal of Cobden, Ill., a stepson, David Bazzell of Louisiana; three brothers; three sisters; and several other grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Wilda Long-Bazzell.
RUSSELL E DUNHAM
Technical Sergeant, US Army; Company I, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division
Born: 23 February 1920, East Carondelet, Illinois
Died: 6 April 2009, Godfrey, Illinois
Citation: 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 machineguns. 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 machineguns 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 machinegun. As he jumped to his feet 10 yards from the gun and charged forward, machinegun 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 machinegunner 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 machinegun. 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.