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Timothy Joseph Dunnigan
Courtesy Karl and Lisa Wittstruck, Find A Grave

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

Remember...

Timothy Joseph Dunnigan
1961-1983

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

John 15:13

Lance Corporal Timothy Joseph Dunnigan was born on December 8, 1961, in Princeton, West Virginia. He was raised by two loving parents, Robert Dunnigan and Claudine Dunnigan, alongside his siblings Mary Iris, William L., Chester F., Michael R., and Danny Ann. He was raised along Lilly Highway off Athens Road in a pleasant community with a Christian-oriented family. He attended Ceredo Elementary, then Princeton Junior High, and then on to Princeton High School, where he enjoyed hobbies such as woodworking, jogging, and riding his bike. After he graduated from high school, he enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in June of 1981.

In the Marines, he joined the Reconnaissance Battalion, which is the equivalent of the Army Special Forces. Lance Cpl. Dunnigan was in C Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit. His fellow Marines described him as warm, outgoing, and hungry; this is how he got the nickname "junk food Marine." He was soon assigned to a small reconnaissance team in Beirut working alongside the French for a peacekeeping mission to diffuse tensions of the Lebanese Civil War. On October 23, 1983, when he was just twenty-two years old, two terrorists drove their trucks loaded with 21,000 pounds of explosives into his barracks, killing 241 Americans (220 Marines and 21 sailors) and 58 French servicemen.

Mrs. Dunnigan, who was very close with her son, stated that he had made a request of specific snacks in a letter. She however didn't even know if he had received the package of treats she sent him. She stated "I never did understand really why they had to go. I would like to see the others brought home. I don't want anybody else's son to get hurt." His older brother William and his mother both said, "Tim wasn't just a Marine. He was among the 'best' of the Marines." (Sources: Pat Cecil, "Princeton Family Told Son Missing in Beirut," Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 1 Nov. 1983; Pat Cecil, "Missing Princeton Soldier Declared Dead," Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 2 Nov. 1983, pp. 1, 2; Gene Woodrum, "Princetonian Listed with Marine Victims," Princeton Times, 3 Nov. 1983, pp.1, 11.)

Lance Cpl. Dunnigan was never married and never fathered any children, but he is survived by his siblings: Elizabeth Ann Bennett, William Dunnigan, Chester Dunnigan, and Michael Dunnigan, as well as his ten nieces and nephews, seventeen great-nieces and nephews, and his aunt Mary Catherine Dunnigan. Lance Cpl. Dunnigan will be remembered as a kind, hardworking, and happy-go-lucky guy. We will remember his memory for years to come and never forget the great service he provided to our country. He was laid to rest at the Dunnigan Family Cemetery in Gratton, Virginia.

Even though his time on earth was short lived, we can all agree that without soldiers like Lance Cpl. Dunnigan we, as Americans, would not have the protection we have on a daily basis. In conclusion, we should only remember the great things this man has done during his lifetime and thank him for his sacrifice, whether it be to remember that he was a resident of West Virginia, that he enjoyed bike riding, that he loved to eat junk food, or that he like any other soldier should be praised for their hard work and dedication. Lance Cpl. Dunnigan, may you rest in peace, and thank you for your service.

Marin Burdette, Clarissa Lares, and Maeghan Belcher, George Washington High School JROTC
December 2017

Honor...

Timothy Joseph Dunnigan

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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