60 Minutes devoted their Sunday hour programming to honoring our soldiers. This included Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer providing his account of the September 9, 2009 ambush that left Afghan soldiers and 4 American soldiers dead: First Lt. Michael Johnson, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin “Wayne” Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton. In addition, Army SFC Kenneth Westbrook lost his life October 7, 2009 at Walter Reed Medical Center.
The rules of engagement that probably cost them their lives?
With an estimated 100-150 enemy fighters dug in on the high ground above them, the Marines called for artillery fire from a nearby base. The first rounds missed so First Lt. Michael Johnson, one of the four Marines trapped inside the village, radioed new coordinates of the enemy positions. But the commanders in the operations center, back at the base, refused to fire.
“They denied it. The Army denied it and told him it was, it was too close the village. . . And he said, ‘Too close to the village?’ And the last words I heard him say was, ‘If you don’t give me these rounds right now I’m going to die,’” Meyer said.
“Did he get the artillery fire?” Martin asked.
“No, he didn’t. The response was basically, ‘Try your best,’” Meyer said.
The interview originally aired September 16, 2011.