Staff Sergeant Stephen J. Dunning was born on April 23, 1980 in Hollywood, California. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on April 19, 1999. After graduating boot camp and completing Marine Combat Training, Staff Sergeant Dunning transferred to Pensacola, Florida for training as an Air Traffic Control Communications Technician. After Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) school, Staff Sergeant Dunning was transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan. In 2002, he was reassigned from Okinawa to MCAS Yuma, Arizona. In 2004, Staff Sergeant Dunning made a lateral move to the Calibration MOS and was transferred to Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi for training as a Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Repair Technician. He completed TMDE School as Honor Graduate in December of 2004 and was transferred to Camp Kinser, Okinawa, Japan. In April of 2006, Staff Sergeant Dunning was transferred back to Biloxi, Mississippi for duty as an instructor at the TMDE School. He spent the next year and a half teaching at Keesler AFB before making a lateral move to Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) in March of 2008. In July of 2008, Staff Sergeant Dunning reported Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal for training as a Basic EOD Technician. Staff Sergeant Dunning graduated from EOD School in May of 2009 and was transferred to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, EOD Company, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. In April 2010, Staff Sergeant Dunning deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Staff Sergeant Dunning deployed to Afghanistan again in September 2011 in support of OEF.
Staff Sergeant Dunning’s personal awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and various other campaign medals and decorations.
Staff Sergeant Dunning is survived by his parents Robert and Tomoe, and siblings David and Joy.