Leo Louis Dunson Jr. (born July 2, 1985), in Oakland, CA is an American Christian rapper, song writer, Motivational Speaker, and a U.S. Army Iraq Combat Veteran. He has recorded 7 albums under the name SGT Dunson : Soldier Music, To Hell and Back, American Soldier, War on the Home Front, God Bless America, From Boots to Books, and Life after the Military. Most of the songs from these albums speak about his time spent during the military in Iraq and back at home in Garrison. Leo Dunson has received national media attention featured on CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, Associated Press and others news outlets for using his talents in rap music to help him coupe with PTSD rather than seeking traditional therapy.
Dunson went to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia in September 2003 joining the U.S. Army Infantry. Basic Combat Training (BCT) consist of several weeks of intense training designed to hone your skills; teach you new skills, optimize your physical and mental performance. It will prepare you mentally, physically, and emotionally to be the best that you can be. After basic training (BCT) for Dunson’s MOS, he explained, their Basic Training and AIT was all put together so you complete one when you complete the other(OUST). He continued saying that (AIT) Advanced Individual training briefly taught him what it would be like to be and infantry man. They briefly covered room clearing techniques (MOUT), a few Battle drills, individual Movements, a couple formations and a few more briefly covered Infantry tactics says Dunson. After AIT he was off to his Duty Station in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Where he was placed in the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Battalion 17th Infantry Regiment, Bravo Company, 1st Platoon, 3rd Squad, Bravo Team. Upon his arrival to Wainwright, the unit was already aware of their soon departure to Iraq and had started to commence training for that purpose. Dunson trained with his unit for a year and a half, before being deployed to Iraq in August 2005. The 172nd Stryker Brigade along with Dunson was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit deployed to Mosul, Iraq. Duties of the unit during deployment included numerous patrol operations, searches for weapons caches, and counterinsurgency operations. Dunson was promoted to Sargent in Country effective date 1 July 2006. The 172nd Stryker Brigade along with Dunson’s tour was to have ended on 27 July 2006, but the U.S. Army unexpectedly extended the deployment until the end of November 2006. During the extension, the unit was sent to Baghdad to quell growing sectarian violence concerns. The infamous extension of the deployment had happened after some of the units of the Brigade were already touched down at their home base of Fort Wainwright, AK, forcing them to fly back to staging areas in Iraq. The extension occurred after the unit’s regular 12-month tour was complete, making the deployment last for a total of 16 months. As a result of the unit’s action in Iraq, the brigade was awarded the Valorous Unit Award. The citation was signed by General George W. Casey, Jr. Dunson re-enlisted in Iraq completing his first full term of service. Returning home Dunson openly struggled with transitioning back from serving in an imminent danger area, he returned home to a broken relationship with his wife and a mental rollercoaster of war wounds which ultimately resulted in a divorce and his discharge out of the military. Yet not before he received 4 weeks of vacation from his personal issues when he attended the Warrior Leader Course (WLC) or (PLDC) in Fort Richardson, Alaska in September 2007.
Awards and Decorations:
Medals and ribbons:
- Army Commendation Medal
- Army Achievement Medal
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Iraq Campaign Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- NCO Professional Development Ribbon
- Army Service Ribbon
- Army Overseas Service Ribbon