|Photo credit: Dakota Meyer (Marine Times)|
Dakota Meyer, a United States Marine Corps veteran has been approved to receive the Medal of Honor. In October 2010, the Marine Corps nominated him for his actions during the Battle of Ganjgal on September 8, 2009, part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kunar province, Afghanistan.
According to Dan Lamothe’s Marine Corps Times article, Obama OKs Medal of Honor for living Marine:
“He will be the first living Marine recipient of the nation’s highest award for valor since now-retired Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg received the medal for actions 41 years ago in Vietnam.
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 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.”
He charged into a kill zone on foot and alone to find three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman, who had been pinned down under intense enemy fire in Ganjgal, a remote village near the Pakistan border in violent Kunar province.
Already wounded by shrapnel, Meyer found them dead and stripped of their gear and weapons, and helped carry them from the kill zone, according to military documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.
In interviews with Marine Corps Times in November, he said he felt “like the furthest thing from a hero” because he did not find his fellow Marines alive.
“Whatever comes out of it, it’s for those guys,” he said at the time. “I feel like I let my guys down because I didn’t bring them home alive.”
According to Leo Shane III’s Stars and Stripes article: Former Marine to receive Medal of Honor for controversial 2009 battle :
“The 22-year-old’s heroics came while serving with an embedded training team from the III Marine Expeditionary Force out of Okinawa, Japan. In September 2009, his team was ambushed in the controversial battle of Ganjgal, which claimed the lives of five Marines and nine Afghan allies.
A Defense Department investigation released five months later said that negligent leadership and a command refusal for artillery support directly contributed to the deaths of Meyer’s fellow fighters, and reprimanded three Army officers.
Last month, two other Marines from that fight — Capt. Ademola Fabayo and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez — received the Navy Cross for their heroics evacuating wounded comrades and repelling the enemy ambush.
But Corps officials said Meyer’s heroics went even further. He was wounded by shrapnel early in the battle, but when his unit lost contact with three Marines and a Navy corpsman pinned down by enemy fire, Meyer fought his way down a mountainside alone to their position.
When he found them all dead and in danger of being claimed as trophies by enemy fighters, he evacuated their bodies with the help of Afghan troops.”
White House and defense officials have not released details of the award or the timing of its presentation.
The specific action leading to the award of the Medal of Honor is told in the April Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) article, “The Bravest Warrior” by Bing West