Medal of Honor recipient sues defense firm, alleges retaliation
A Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Afghanistan is suing a British-owned defense contracting firm for allegedly harassing him and raising questions about his mental condition after he questioned the practice of selling high-tech rifle scopes to the Pakistani military.
Dakota Meyer wrote to his supervisor at BAE Systems that selling such gear to the Pakistanis was “giving it to guys known to stab us in the back,” according to an article by Wall Street Journal reporter Julian Barnes. The article broke the story of Meyer’s lawsuit.
After he complained about the sale to the Pakistanis, Meyer’s bosses called him mentally unstable and a problem drinker, according to the lawsuit. Meyer resigned from the company in May but says that the assertions by BAE make it impossible for him to get a job in the defense industry.
A spokesman for BAE told the Wall Street Journal that all sales to Pakistan have been approved by the State Department as part of the continuing relationship between the two countries.
Meyer, now 23, was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of three dozen U.S. and Afghan military personnel during a six-hour battle in 2009 that began as a Taliban ambush near the Pakistan border. He received the medal in September from President Obama in a White House ceremony.
As part of his lawsuit, Meyer says a supervisor responded to his concerns by mocking his combat heroism and “hero status.”
Meyer, a sergeant no longer on active duty, asserts that after leaving BAE, he tried to get a job at San Diego-based Ausgar Technologies, where he had worked but was told a poor evaluation from BAE made his hiring impossible. The lawsuit includes an email from an Ausgar manager telling Meyer that he was not being rehired because he was considered “mentally unstable.”
The lawsuit was filed in state court in San Antonio.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Dakota Meyer in eastern Afghanistan. Credit: Reuters