President Obama will award the Medal of Honor on Sept. 15 to a Marine who repeatedly braved enemy fire in Afghanistan attempting to find and save fellow service members, the White House announced Friday.
Dakota Meyer, 23, will be the third living recipient — and first living Marine recipient — of the nation’s highest combat honor for actions in the Iraq and Afghanistan. No living Marine has received the award in the last 38 years.
The White House ceremony will be held nearly two years to the day that Meyer braved enemy fire multiple times after fellow members of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8 were pinned down in a fierce ambush. The incident happened Sept. 8, 2009, in Ganjgal, a village in eastern Afghanistan’s volatile Kunar province. Meyer’s training team was based out of Okinawa, Japan.
Meyer, who left active-duty service in June 2010 as a corporal, is credited with braving enemy fire multiple times to pull Afghan soldiers his unit was training from harm and find three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman who had gone missing in the battle. He eventually found them dead in a trench, stripped of their weapons and radios.
Only two living recipients — both soldiers — have received the award for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan: Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry. Cpl. Jason Dunham is the only Marine to receive the medal for the current conflicts, and he received it posthumously after throwing himself on a grenade in Husaybah, Iraq, in 2004 to save the lives of fellow Marines.
Commandant Gen. Jim Amos praised Meyer, who became a sergeant in the Individual Ready Reserve.
“He is a living example of the brave young men and women whose service, fidelity and sacrifice make us so proud,” Amos said in a statement released Friday. “Sergeant Meyer’s heroic actions on September 8, 2009, in the Ganjgal village in Afghanistan serve as an inspiration to all Marines and will forever be etched in our Corps’ rich legacy of courage and valor.
“Speaking on behalf of all Marines, I congratulate Sergeant Meyer on this auspicious news and look forward to his award ceremony here in Washington, D.C., in mid-September.”
story by: Dan Lamothe
photo courtesy of: USMC