Tags: Meyer | medal | honor | Afghanistan

Medal of Honor Recipient Dakota Meyer Tells His Story

By    |   Friday, 28 September 2012 05:43 PM

Dakota Meyer is the first living U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in 42 years, and he has written a compelling new book about the war in Afghanistan and the day he earned his medal with incredible acts of bravery on the battlefield.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Meyer discloses that despite the recent spate of killings of American troops by Afghan soldiers, he was “never concerned” about Afghan soldiers “fighting against me.”

And he says it “doesn’t make any sense” to announce when U.S. forces will leave Afghanistan, as President Obama has done, and instead the United States should just pull out the troops now.

Watch our exclusive video. Story continues below.

The Medal of Honor, the highest award given to a member of the U.S. Military, was bestowed on Meyer for his actions on Sept. 8, 2009.

As he recounts in his just-released book Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War,” Meyer and the members of his embedded team came under heavy fire from insurgents near the Afghan village of Ganjigal. Meyer, who was wounded in the fight, made five forays into heavy enemy fire, killed a number of enemy insurgents, evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, and recovered the bodies of four Americans, including three of his team members.

Meyer lost several of his best friends during the ambush.

Editor’s Note: Get your copy of Dakota Meyer’s new bestseller for a great price on Amazon – Go Here Now

The combat was so harrowing that in his book Meyer refers to the battle site as “Little Big Horn,” and at one point, he writes, “I didn’t think I was going to die. I knew I was dead.”

Meyer’s book was co-authored by Bing West, a Marine combat veteran who served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

In his Newsmax interview, Meyer says he wrote the book because “we wanted to get the story out and that way it was there and would be told forever.”

Asked about the recent killings of Americans by Afghan soldiers, he responds: “When you’re fighting with a foreign force, it’s always something that you have to be aware of.

“With my guys, I can tell you I was never concerned or was never worried about them fighting against me because they’re in the same situation [as we were]. They have nowhere to go.

“And what I’ve seen with Afghans is they had a lot of pride in their country. These guys that were standing up to fight, for the most part, had pride in their country and they wanted to do the best and they wanted to go out and fight, and I was as close to these Afghans as I was to the Marines.”

Asked if the killings could be related to the announced timetable for American withdrawal from Afghanistan, Meyer — who is now a sergeant in the Marine Reserves — tells Newsmax: “I don’t get paid enough to make decisions like that, but why would you not just go ahead and pull out? Why do you want to announce when you’re pulling out? That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Meyer says he feels no great pride in receiving the medal: “You don’t see me wear it because it’s not about the medal, it’s not about me. It’s about the guys who sacrificed their lives. Those guys are heroes, not me.”

As for that terrible day in Afghanistan, “the thing that stands out to me the most is just the end result, and that’s that I lost my team. Now I’ve been recognized for the worst day of my life, and the frustration of the battle and definitely the fog of war, the confusion of it, of going back and forth.

“What made me to go back in was that we believe in the words, ‘You leave no man behind. Either you get him out alive or you die trying.’ So basically it was simple.”

Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor in a ceremony on September 15, 2011. The citation observed that the Marine’s “unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

But even when President Barack Obama called to tell Meyer he had won the award, the Marine still wasn’t an eager recipient. After he told the president that he was reluctant, Obama responded that the medal is “bigger than you.”

Says Meyer: “When he first said [those words] to me, they didn’t mean anything to me. I just thought it was like a ridiculous answer. But now I get it. I get the picture. If I can take this medal and go out and make a difference and do something to make a difference for someone who couldn’t do it, or if I could just make a difference for someone who needs help, then that’s what it’s about.”

Meyer asked Obama if he could join him at the White House for a drink, and the president accepted. Meyer was impressed that Obama took time out of his busy schedule to have a beer with him.

Meyer has an amusing story about that drink. “They asked me, ‘What do you want to drink?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ll take a Crown and Coke.’ And they were like, ‘Nope.’ And I was like, ‘Well, okay, a Bud Light.’ And they were like, ‘No, we’ll give you a beer when you get here.’ So, when I got there, we drank a honey ale.”

As for what advice Meyer can give to veterans suffering from post-war stress, he says: “I don’t want to speak for anyone, but I could tell you what helped me. When I came back, I tried to live independently. In the Marine Corps, we’re taught as a team, so why would you think you’re going to get out of the military and live independently and not rely on your support system around you?

“I was removing myself from people I could probably count on the most and to hold me accountable in my actions. So I was abusing alcohol, I was having a lot of problems. But once I realized that my teammates never really left me, they’re still here with me today, and they still hold me accountable, [it was better.]”

Veterans “have to understand what’s been sacrificed for us to be able to live and have the life that we do,” Meyer adds. “So we always have to keep that in the back of our mind. And if we don’t have any other reason to push on, we push on for the guys that didn’t get a chance to.”

Meyer has launched the Dakota Meyer Scholarship Initiative to help the children of Marines injured in combat get a college education. His website is dakotameyer.com.

Editor’s Note: Get your copy of Dakota Meyer’s new bestseller for a great price on Amazon – Go Here Now

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Dakota Meyer is the first living U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in 42 years, and he has written a compelling new book about the war in Afghanistan and the day he earned his medal with incredible acts of bravery on the battlefield.
Friday, 28 September 2012 05:43 PM
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