[imgcontainer right] [img:Dakota.jpeg] Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer of Greensburg, Kentucky. [/imgcontainer]
The first living Marine to receive the nation’s highest honor for valor in either Iraq or Afghanistan comes from a rural town in south central Kentucky.
President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer for bravery shown in Afghanistan. Meyer is a 2006 graduate of Green County High School and is a native of Greensburg, Kentucky.
Corporal Meyer is only the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was contacted by President Obama Monday about the award.
Meyer is being honored for his actions on September 8, 2009. He charged into an embattled area on foot and alone to find three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman who had been pinned down under enemy fire in a remote village near the Pakistan border in Afghanistan. Meyer was wounded by shrapnel, but he found his comrades, who had been killed. He helped carry them from the battle zone. (The Navy Times has a good description of the incident here.)
Meyer was accepted into both Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky after high school, but decided to join the Marines instead. “He told me he wasn’t ready for college,” Mike Meyer, Dakota’s father, told the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader last year.
Dakota Meyer left active duty in June 2010 and now lives in Austin, Texas. Mike Meyer said his son’s transition to civilian life has been hard. Dakota does not like to talk about the firefight that he will be honored for. “The one-year anniversary (of the incident) was hard on him,” the elder Meyer told the Herald-Leader. “He thinks of those guys a lot. He wears two bracelets with their names on it. I’ve never seen him take them off.”
“It’s a long shot to receive it,” Meyer said last year after learning that he had been nominated to receive the Medal of Honor. “At the end of the day, it’s not about me. I’m absolutely the furthest thing from a hero. I’m just an ordinary guy who got put in extraordinary circumstances and just did my job.”
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