PHOTO CAPTION: Roy Dunn Jr., left, Roy Dunn and Aminta Dunn, right, of Moreno Valley, constructed a memorial in their front yard for Army Sgt. Clayton G. Dunn II, 22, who was killed Saturday in Iraq. Amanda Lucidon / The Press-Enterprise
Moreno Valley soldier killed in Iraq
10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
By MELISSA EISELEIN
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.
Sgt. Dunn was on the cross-country team while attending San Bernardino Valley College.
Roy Dunn, who retired from the Army with 22 years of military service, said he did not want his son to follow in his footsteps, but he said he was not surprised when his son enlisted in 2004. From the time he was a small boy, Sgt. Dunn would dress up in his father's combat helmet and play soldier. Being in the military was a lifelong dream for Sgt. Dunn, Roy Dunn said.
Now, the helmet Sgt. Dunn played with as a small child hangs on a white, wooden cross in Roy and Aminta Dunn's front yard. Roy Dunn also decorated the memorial with a pair of his combat boots, a military belt and two American flags.
"It's a memorial for a soldier, from a soldier," Roy Dunn said.
Sgt. Dunn is survived by his wife, Haidy, 23, and 3-month-old daughter, Grace, both living with Haidy's parents in San Bernardino. He also has a younger brother, Roy Dunn Jr., who lives in Moreno Valley.
"My youngest son idolized his brother. I don't mind. If he needs an idol, I couldn't possibly pick a better one for him," Roy Dunn said.
Sgt. Dunn's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal with one oak-leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Parachutist's Badge.
Services are pending.
Reach Melissa Eiselein at 951-567-2409 or meiselein@PE.com
Clayton G. Dunn II, 22, was killed Saturday in Iraq. "The other kids respected him," said Marie Albert, a high school coach.
Amanda Lucidon / The Press-Enterprise