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Dakota Meyer, a former corporal, will be honored for his heroics in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, in September 2009

By Dan Lamothe – Staff writer, Military Times
Posted : Tuesday Jul 19, 2011 18:36:54 EDT
  

 

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A Marine who repeatedly braved enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan attempting to find and save fellow members of his embedded training team will receive the Medal of Honor, Marine Corps Times has confirmed.

Dakota Meyer was contacted by President Obama on Monday, according to sources with knowledge of the award. 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.

It’s unclear when Meyer, a scout sniper, will receive the medal. Officials at the White House and Marine Corps headquarters declined to comment.

The news was first reported Tuesday night on the website of Leatherneck, a publication produced by the Marine Corps Association. Marine Corps Times reported exclusively Nov. 8 that the Corps had nominated Meyer for the award.

Meyer, who left active-duty service in June 2010 as a corporal, will be honored for his actions Sept. 8, 2009. 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.

Meyer could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. 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.”

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