United States Marine Corps Sergeant Dakota L. Meyer has been presented the Medal of Honor, Thursday in Washington, the first living Marine to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Sergeant Meyer's award followed his combat heroics in Afghanistan, when on 8 September, 2009, his patrol was ambushed while training Afghan soldiers. With their forward team cut-off, and with no air support available, despite command-denial of his request to go rescue them, Sergeant Meyer and a fellow Marine jumped into a Humvee and headed into the heavy gunfire to get to his close-friends, pinned-down up-front. Meyer manned the Humvee's gun turret, laying down heavy covering fire, while helping to rescue wounded Marines, Army soldiers, and Afghan trainees, re-entering the fight three more times to do so. When one of our a helicopter arrived to provide at least some air-cover, they radioed that four Marines, lying in a forward ditch, appeared to be deceased. Sergeant Meyer knew immediately those were his friends, and that he had to get to them. So for a fifth time, he headed into the fight, this time on foot and despite a shoulder wound, maneuvering around structures, finally reaching the bodies of his friends, already stripped of their gear and weapons. With the help, now, of others, he recovered the fallen, denying their bodies to the enemy, and repeatedly defying grievous-injury or death. His Medal of Honor resulted, stated his citation, for "his extraordinary heroism, presence of mind amidst chaos and death, and unselfish devotion to his comrades, in the face of great danger. We join with all of America, today, in saluting Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer.