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SRA Jason Dean Cunningham

Photo added by Brenda N

SRA Jason Dean Cunningham

  • Birth 27 Mar 1975
  • Death 4 Mar 2002
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Section 66, Site 6856
  • Memorial ID 10531494

Air Force Senior Airman Cunningham was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Cunningham was killed during a rescue mission during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. Jason attended Carlsbad High School before enlisting in the Navy in February 1995. He thought about joining the Navy SEALS and had passed the fitness test, but decided instead to train to become an Air Force pararescueman. He left the Navy in 1998, joined the Air Force in 1999 and completed the 21-month pararescue training in June 2001. Jason was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2002. One of his first battles was not on the ground but in bureaucracy. He successfully pushed to allow pararescuemen to carry whole blood into combat, which had not been allowed previously due to its status as a "FDA controlled substance." In the weeks after Jason's death, tales of his battlefield heroism came out. On that fateful day, March 4, he was the primary Air Force combat search and rescue medic assigned to a quick reaction force. They were being sent to rescue two American servicemen evading capture in austere terrain. Before landing, his MH-47E Chinook helicopter received rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire, disabling the aircraft and forcing it to crash-land. Crewmembers formed a hasty defense and immediately suffered three fatalities and five critical casualties. Despite effective enemy fire, and at great risk to his own life, Jason remained in the burning fuselage of the aircraft in order to treat the wounds. As he moved his patients to a more secure location, mortar rounds began to impact within 50 feet of his position. Disregarding this extreme danger, he continued the movement and exposed himself to enemy fire on seven separate occasions. When the second casualty collection point was also compromised, in a display of uncommon valor and gallantry, Jason braved an intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack while repositioning the critically wounded to a third collection point. Even after he was mortally wounded and quickly deteriorating, he continued to direct patient movement and transferred care to another medic. In the end, his efforts led to the successful delivery of 10 gravely wounded Americans to life-saving medical treatment. He died seven hours after being hit. Jason was awarded the Air Force Cross on September 13, 2002, at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. His wife accepted the award.


  • Created by: Brenda N
  • Added: 
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10531494
  • Havens Gate 333
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for SRA Jason Dean Cunningham (27 Mar 1975–4 Mar 2002), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10531494, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Brenda N (contributor 46490312) .