the first Marine to receive a Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, and the first living Marine recipient of the award since now-retired Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg received the medal from President Nixon, for actions 41 years ago in Vietnam.
(Stars and Stripes) When Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer plunged into Afghanistan’s Ganjgal Valley, he was sure he wouldn’t come out alive, Meyer said in a USA Today article.
Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine to receive a Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, will be honored with the award at a White House ceremony Sept. 15. Meyer’s team, along with other U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces, was pinned down near a village in Kunar province.
Meyer wasn’t going to wait and see whether they would get out. Defying orders to stay put, Meyer set himself in the turret of a Humvee and rode straight into the firefight, taking fire from all directions. He went in not once, but five times, trying to rescue his comrades.
During about six hours of chaotic fighting, he killed eight Taliban militants and provided cover for Afghan and U.S. servicemen to escape the ambush, the USA Today reported, citing a Marine Corps account of the events. Meyer saved the lives of 13 U.S. troops and 23 Afghan soldiers that day, Sept. 8, 2009.
Next week, President Obama will award him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest medal for bravery. During the ceremony Sept. 15, Meyer will become the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Meyer, who joined the Marines almost on a lark, said in an interview with USA Today at his grandparents’ Kentucky farm that what he did was an easy decision to make.
“My best friends were in there getting shot at,” he said.