Marine receives Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan

President Obama and Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer
Dakota Meyer on Thursday will become the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War for his actions in saving three dozen fellow warriors in Afghanistan.

Meyer will receive the coveted military award in an afternoon ceremony at the White House. In media appearances, Meyer has said that the recognition was tough, coming as a result of “the worst day of your life.”

On Wednesday, Meyer met privately with President Obama, who will lead the honors. The pair had a beer on a patio outside the Oval Office, the White House announced.

“Over the weekend, the President's staff called Meyer in preparation for Thursday's Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House. Meyer asked the staffer if he could have a beer with the President. POTUS invited Dakota to come by the White House,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tweeted.

According to the White House, Meyer will become the third living recipient, and first Marine, to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Born in Columbia, Ky., on June 26, 1988, Meyer attended local public schools, and graduated from Green County High School. In 2006, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and did his basic training at Parris Island Recruit Training Depot, the White House said.

In 2010, he completed his active duty commitment and currently serves in the Inactive Ready Reserve of the Marine Corps as a sergeant. He is a Marine infantryman and scout sniper.

At the time of his deployment to combat duty in Afghanistan, he was serving as a turret gunner and driver. According to the military, on Sept. 8, 2009, Meyer was in the Ganjgal Valley in Kunar province in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by 50 enemy combatants. Meyer charged through enemy fire five times in an armored Humvee to save 13 Marines and Army soldiers and 23 Afghan troops who were pinned down.

Meyer is credited with killing at least eight attackers despite being wounded in his arm by shrapnel.

On the day of the attack, Meyer, then a corporal, was part of a security team, Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7. When a forward team took fire, he asked to be allowed to move forward and he was repeatedly denied.

Finally, he and another Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, jumped into the Humvee and moved out. Rodriguez-Chavez, 34, originally from Acuna, Mexico, was awarded the Navy Cross.

Meyer also recovered the bodies of four friends killed in action.

Meyer is the second Marine to earn the Medal of Honor from the current wars. Marine Corporal Jason Dunham received the awarded posthumously for his actions in Iraq.

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---Michael Muskal

Photo: President Obama awards the Medal of Honor to Dakota Meyer at the White House on Thursday. Credit: White House

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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