15 Sep

Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer Receives Medal of Honor

                                       

Sept. 15, 2011 President Barack Obama makes remarks before awarding the Medal of Honor to Dakota Meyer, left, the first Marine to be so honored for actions in Aghanistan, at White House ceremony. "You did your duty, above and beyond," Obama told Meyer after reciting his dramatic story. Though the corporal and a fellow Marine were going against orders — commanders considered their effort too dangerous — they were doing what they thought was right, Obama said. Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post


“I didn’t think I was going to die, I knew I was.”

-Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer

Fortunately for us, we have a living hero to receive the Medal of Honor and not a dead one.

NYTimes account of the September 8, 2009 ambush in eastern Afghanistan:

Mr. Meyer, 23, now a sergeant in the inactive reserve, was an infantry corporal on Sept. 8, 2009, when an Afghan and American column headed before dawn toward the village of Ganjigal in Kunar Province.

The men in column — a mix of Afghan soldiers, border police officers and American trainers — were to meet with local elders. But they had been betrayed and walked into an ambush.

Corporal Meyer and another Marine had been assigned to secure a flank, and as Taliban gunfire began and the rest of his team was trapped, he was several hundred yards away.

Corporal Meyer listened on the radio as the rest of his Marine training team tried calling for help, and as Capt. Will Swenson of the Army, who worked with the border police and was also trapped, shouted into his radio for artillery support to suppress the Taliban fighters.

Officers at the nearby Army headquarters denied the request for artillery support, leaving the men, many of them wounded, to fight on their own until helicopter gunships arrived. (Investigations later suggested the Army officers decided that because the trapped troops were unaware of the precise locations of all of the other troops on the operation, artillery fire might have endangered them and was best withheld.)

Corporal Meyer asked permission several times to go into the ravine and to fight. He was told to remain in place, but decided to rush to the village nonetheless.

In the course of six hours, survivors said, Corporal Meyer and his driver, Staff Sgt. Juan J. Rodriguez-Chavez, led five fights into the ravine toward Ganjigal. Four times they helped recover wounded men, first Afghans who were pinned down and later Americans similarly trapped.

After the corporal freed Captain Swenson, the captain joined him in the fighting while an Army platoon nearby declined to help. On the last trip they recovered the remains of three Marines and a Navy corpsman. By then, according to the Marine Corps’ account of the fight, Corporal Meyer had killed eight Taliban fighters and stood up to several dozen more. (A fifth American later died of wounds suffered in the ravine.)

Two years on, the ambush in Ganjigal has been examined, reexamined and presented in many different ways, often as an institutional failure and an example of the limits and dangers of the counterinsurgency theory that was pressed upon the troops by Gen. David H. Petraeus and the Pentagon. The betrayal by the villagers, the confused lines of command, the withheld artillery fire, the inaction of an Army platoon that might have helped the trapped men — have all been documented.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. Obama did not mention the local treachery or the lapses of officers who might have helped that day. Instead, he dwelled on Mr. Meyer, who is described as a remarkable selfless example of a citizen at his best.

“Dakota later confessed,” the president said, of the fighting in Ganjigal, “I didn’t think I was going to die. I knew I was.”

DoD:

Meyer and others who had joined him picked up the fallen Marines and, “through all those bullets, all the smoke, all the chaos, carried them out one by one – because as Dakota says, that’s what you do for a brother,” the commander in chief said.

“Dakota says he’ll accept this medal in their name,” the president said. “So today, we remember the husband who loved the outdoors, Lt. Michael Johnson; the husband and father they called ‘Gunny J,’ Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson; the determined Marine who fought to get on that team, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick; the medic who gave his life tending to his teammates, Hospitalman 3rd Class James Layton; and a soldier wounded in that battle who was never recovered: Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook.”

Obama said while he knows Meyer has thought of himself as a failure because some of his teammates didn’t come home, “as your commander in chief, and on behalf of everyone here today and all Americans, I want you to know it’s quite the opposite.”

“Because of your honor, 36 men are alive today,” the president said. “Because of your courage, four fallen American heroes came home, and in the words of James Layton’s mom, [their families] could lay their sons to rest with dignity.”

Meyer’s father, Mike, grandparents, and more than a hundred friends and family members attended today’s ceremony.

Because of Meyer’s humble example, children all across America will know that “no matter who you are or where you come from, you can do great things as a citizen and a member of the American family,” the president said.

From WaPo:

When President Obama recently called to tell Meyer he would be awarded the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, Meyer didn’t take the call. Meyer, now 23, was working a new job in construction and asked the president to call him back another time.

“He told me, ‘If I don’t work, I don’t get paid,’ ” Obama recounted with a chuckle Thursday afternoon at the medal ceremony for Meyer in the gilded East Room of the White House.

“Dakota is the kind of guy who gets the job done,” Obama said.

Meyer, of Kentucky, became just the third service member to earn the award for service in the Afghanistan or Iraq wars, and he’s the first living Marine to have earned the honor since 1973.

~~~

The Obama administration has previously awarded the Medal of Honor to two other Afghan war veterans. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta, who received the award on Nov. 27, 2010, and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, who was honored at a White House ceremony last month.

Marine Cpl. Jason E. Dunham is the only other Marine out of the 10 Medal of Honor recipients for actions in the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Doug Mills/The New York Times "An American who placed himself in the thick of the fight." That is how President Obama described Dakota Meyer on Thursday in awarding him the Medal of Honor for helping rescue fellow Marines pinned down in battle in Afghanistan.

This entry was posted in Military, True Heroes. Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 11:10 pm
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13 Responses to Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer Receives Medal of Honor

  1. Rides A Pale Horse says: 1

    Oblowme decorates Marine Dakota Meyer and then shakes his hand. What?? Shakes his HAND??? You disrespectful sonofabitch. This “commuter in cheap” has absolutely NO idea how a MOH recipient is to be treated. You are nowhere near his equal you POS. He is a hero who risked his life to save others. YOU, on the other hand, risk EVERYONE ELSES lives to save your own.

    MOH recipients are SALUTED, not hugged or have their hand shaken. You fucking moron.

    This clip is just over 6 minutes long. Oblowme does read the citation and naturally adds his own (insincere since we know how he feels about the military), comments so if you want to skip to the money shot, it comes at 5:49.
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/09/15/marine.medal.of.honor/index.html

    Goddamned disrespecful idiot.

    ReplyReply
  2. anticsrocks says: 2

    In our paper today this story revealed that Sgt. Meyer’s uncle lives in our town.

    Small world.

    God Bless this brave young man and God Bless all of our troops.

    ReplyReply
  3. James Raider says: 3

    @ Rides, . . . . it is baffling, but not surprising of this White House, that no one could be bothered to provide this uninterested CIC with instructions, or even suggestion as to how to show a modicum of respect, honor and deference for the man and his spectacular accomplishment.

    . . . . This world is fortunate to be capable of counting Marine Dakota Meyer as it’s own. He is where inspiration comes from.

    ReplyReply
  4. Have a look at what a real hero looks like, America

    And note that it’s nothing like the self-serving bungholes the Prog-Left
    serves-up as supposedly our betters

    ReplyReply
  5. Wordsmith says: 5

    For all we know, Meyer could be a registered Democrat. He did have the class to sit for a beer with the CiC, at least.

    Wish we could have kept the snarky political partisanship out of this thread, but hey, that’s just me. Carry on. It’s a conservative political blog, afterall.

    ReplyReply
  6. RudeCrudeAndSociallyUnacceptable says: 6

    The [now]ceremonial “Beer with the boss” is NEVER an optional event!

    ReplyReply
  7. Smorgasbord says: 7

    I don’t like to post anything negative at a time like this, but some things bugged me:

    I noticed that Obama had the same emotionless manner he usually does.  The only time I have seen him get real emotional is when he told us to “Pass this bill.” The voice after Obama spoke had much more feeling in it than Obama’s.

    I don’t know if Obama was instructed to salute the MOH winner, but I know it would be the equivalent of a dedicated military personnel saluting the enemy, since Obama sees the military as an obstacle to being crowned king. 

    It would be interesting to know what they talked about over the beer.

    Sgt. Dakota is another fine example of the quality personnel our “volunteer” military is getting.  He is one that others will try to be like, and I hope many attain that goal.

    ReplyReply
  8. Aleric says: 8

    Reguardless of what his politics are I am proud to have a true Kentuckian as a Medal of Honor winner.

    ReplyReply
  9. Richard Wheeler says: 9

    Word #5 Some fools can’t help themselves. Thanks for the article.
    BTW Marines do not salute uncovered,indoors unless under arms.

    Semper Fi

    ReplyReply
  10. retire05 says: 10

    When 14 million Americans are out of work, when our national debt is a disaster, when home forclosures are only increasing, when children continue to have children with no daddy in sight, you are rightfully depressed.
    Then we learn about Sgt. Dakota Meyer and we have some ray of hope knowing that we still produce such men as this hero.

    ReplyReply
  11. Darkwater says: 11

    Considering the reputation of Sgt Meyer being bluntly candid, I would love to have been privy to the conversation with Obama, particularly after he had a beer.

    One may be interested in my original post about Sgt Meyer, & now the news about his comrade in battle, CPT Will Swenson.

    ReplyReply
  12. Pingback: Revisiting the 2009 Ganjgal Ambush | Flopping Aces

  13. fazil says: 12

    one of my friend was in same fighting. and i know sgt westbrook who was working with afghan border police the reality is who get the medal of honor was never in this site of fighting he came later the bodies were recovered by a translator by the name Fazil . and there was an Afghan border mentor swinson who saved the bodies. so this marine sgt is not to get this award

    ReplyReply

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