Thursday, May 31, 2007

Clayton G. Dunn dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'

Clayton G. Dunn II's passion was running. He was a track star in high school and ran in college. And after he joined the Army, he often talked about running.

During his senior year at Rialto High School in 2003, he set the Division I Citrus Belt League record in the 1,600-meter race. That record still stands, said his former track coach, Marie Albert.

On Saturday, Sgt. Dunn, 22, of Moreno Valley, and two other soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle, while they were on patrol in Salah ad-Din province in Iraq.

Sgt. Dunn was a fire-team leader with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, home-based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Also killed were Spc. Michael J. Jaurigue, 20, of Texas City, Texas; and Spc. Gregory N. Millard, 22, of San Diego.

Sgt. Dunn was a 2003 Rialto High School graduate. During his time on the school's track team, he served as a leader and a source of encouragement, said his friend Buddy Rogers, 19, of San Bernardino.

"He inspired me to keep running. I wanted to quit so many times," Rogers said. "Now I hold the 800(-meter Citrus Belt League) record. If it weren't for him, I never would have run that race."

Albert said Sgt. Dunn was a quiet, polite student, but one who wasn't shy about taking charge during practice and competition.

"The other kids respected him," Albert said. "He motivated his teammates to work hard in practice, and they were friends outside of practice. He was an all-around good person, and he will be deeply missed."

Sgt. Dunn was a 2003 nominee for the Ken Hubbs Award, which honors top male athletes from all high schools in San Bernardino. One athlete from each school is nominated.

From the Press Enterprise