On September 15th, 2011 President Barack Obama presented SGT Dakota Meyer with the Medal of Honor. Meyer is awarded the medal for actions on September 8th, 2009 in Afghanistan. He is credited with saving the lives of three dozen lives.
At the time of his deployment, a then CPL Dakota Meyer was serving as a turrent gunner and driver. According to the military, on Sept. 8, 2009, Meyer was in the Ganjgal Valley in Kunar province in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by 50 enemy combatants. Meyer charged through enemy fire five times in an armored Humvee to save 13 Marines and Army soldiers and 23 Afghan troops who were pinned down.
Meyer is credited with killing at least eight attackers despite being wounded in his arm by shrapnel.
On the day of the attack, Meyer, then a corporal, was part of a security team, Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7. When a forward team took fire, he asked to be allowed to move forward and he was repeatedly denied.
Finally, he and another Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, jumped into the Humvee and moved out. Rodriguez-Chavez, 34, originally from Acuna, Mexico, was awarded the Navy Cross.
Meyer also recovered the bodies of four friends killed in action.
“Because of your honor, 36 men are alive today. Because of your courage, four fallen American heroes came home,” Obama said after describing the heroic circumstances of his award.
Prior to the award ceremony, President Obama and Meyer shared a beer.
There have only been 10 Medal of Honors issued in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seven of those have been posthumously. This compares to 248 in Vietnam, 136 in Korea and 465 during World War II.
SGT Dakota Meyer is the second Marine to earn the Medal of Honor in the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Marine Corporal Jason Dunham received the awarded posthumously for his actions in Iraq making SGT Dakota Meyer the first living Marine recipient.
SGT Dakota Meyer completed his active enlistment in the Marines in 2010 and is currently serving as a Sergeant in the Inactive Ready Reserve.
Medal of Honor Citation
Medal of Honor Citation
“The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
CORPORAL DAKOTA L. MEYER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. When the forward element of his combat team began to be hit by intense fire from roughly 50 Taliban insurgents dug-in and concealed on the slopes above Ganjgal village, Corporal Meyer mounted a gun-truck, enlisted a fellow Marine to drive, and raced to attack the ambushers and aid the trapped Marines and Afghan soldiers. During a six hour fire fight, Corporal Meyer single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, saved 36 Marines and soldiers and recovered the bodies of his fallen brothers. Four separate times he fought the kilometer up into the heart of a deadly U-shaped ambush. During the fight he killed at least eight Taliban, personally evacuated 12 friendly wounded, and provided cover for another 24 Marines and soldiers to escape likely death at the hands of a numerically superior and determined foe. On his first foray his lone vehicle drew machine gun, mortar, rocket grenade and small arms fire while he rescued five wounded soldiers. His second attack disrupted the enemy’s ambush and he evacuated four more wounded Marines. Switching to another gun-truck because his was too damaged they again sped in for a third time, and as turret gunner killed several Taliban attackers at point blank range and suppressed enemy fire so 24 Marines and soldiers could break-out. Despite being wounded, he made a fourth attack with three others to search for missing team members. Nearly surrounded and under heavy fire he dismounted the vehicle and searched house to house to recover the bodies of his fallen team members. By his extraordinary heroism, presence of mind amidst chaos and death, and unselfish devotion to his comrades in the face of great danger, Corporal Meyer reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
Information and Images Courtesy of the following:
United States Marine Corps