WASHINGTON--President Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Kentucky-native Dakota Meyer, who will be the third living person and the first Marine to receive the commendation for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House announced Friday.
Meyer, a former active-duty Marine Corps Corporal, will receive the Medal of Honor on Sept. 15 for his courageous actions while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, the White House said.
Meyer, 23, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2006 and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the Marine Corps Times, Meyer repeatedly braved enemy fire while trying to save fellow members of his embedded training team during an attack in eastern Afghanistan. His other military decorations include a Purple Heart.
According to the White House statement, the requirements for a Medal of Honor "must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life."
|Did Corporal Meyer (left) envision a growing Medal of Honor class?|
"I feel the furthest thing from a hero," Meyer said in a past interview with the Marine Corps Times. "I went in there to do a job and the way I viewed it is that I let those guys down." Meyer's story is one of extreme heroism and bravery, but unlike the stories behind the only other two living medal of honor recipients from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, his does not have as much of a happy ending. Meyer and his fellow service members were able to recover the bodies of their comrades, but they were unable to save their lives. "The award would be for them and for the corps ... and for Marines that didn't get recognized because there wasn't enough witnesses," Meyer added. That's what it would be for."
Meyer completed his active duty commitment in 2010 and now serves in the Marine Corps Inactive Ready Reserve as a sergeant. In the Marine Corps Times interview, he says it's still very difficult to talk about the events of that September day in Afghanistan. He will attend the White House ceremony with his family.
News that Meyer would receive the Medal of Honor was leaked to the media last month, causing some frustration in the White House, which typically is the first to announce such honors.
How many more stories from the Iraq and Afghanistan War are deserving of recognition? Far, far, far too many. I'm sure. I'm amazed that only three have been recognized thus far. My gosh, where does it start and where does it stop? Let me throw one out to you.
In late May of 2011 two Chinook helicopters dropped into the Afghan town of Do Ab. On board were some 42 American and 18 Afghan National soldiers. As the two helicopters touched soil they began taking fire.....completely surrounded. By the Grace of God, not only were the soldiers able to disembark safely, but when the seven-hour firefight ended more than 250 Taliban had been killed and not one....NOT ONE......of the soldiers on those two copters were wounded. NO ONE WAS WOUNDED. I can't get my noggin around that thought. I know there are a million stories to sort through in determining a Medal of Honor recipient. But someone in that battle would appear to be deserving....WOULDN'T THEY?