African American Soldiers 1 African American Officers pilots in dress uniforms Mule Rearing gas masks The pilots Riveters doughboys with mules

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Lee A. Dunham

Submitted by: William H. Dunham {son}

Lee A Dunham

Lee A. Dunham served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 07/24/1917 - 03/23/1919.


My father, Lee Dunham, was a member of the Ohio National Guard and served in the 37th “Buckeye” Division, 148th infantry, in the First World War. He fought with the 37th Division in the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne in September 1918, and was transferred to Eyne, Belgium in the Ypres-Lys sector near the end of the war.

After the war, Lee returned to Ohio where he worked as a barber. One day, when I was about 10 years old, I was in the barber shop waiting to get my hair cut. I was snooping through the drawers of the back counter of the ship and came across some medals -- a Purple Heart and a Silver Star!

As I remember, this is what he told me about how he got the medals:

“My company was walking down a road being strafed by a German airplane. Suddenly I found myself on my back, but with no apparent wounds. I got up and went on with the company. The company was later under a gas attack and I was overcome, but survived. Upon examination of my gas mask, I found a slug from the strafing plane had hit the charcoal filled canister of the gas mask and knocked me flat, but also compromised the effectiveness of the mask.”

For the injury of being gassed in action, Lee was awarded the Purple Heart.

When I pressed him to tell me about the Silver Star, he said “I got it for being damned scared.”

Photos are of Lee A. Dunham in uniform, Lee's medals, and a collage of Lee's and other family members' service memorabilia. I am the youngest of Lee’s three sons; all of us served in the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1946. We were all grateful to survive another war.

-- William H. Dunham, Lodi, Ohio

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