News / USA

Obama Presents Medal of Honor to Iraq, Afghanistan War Veteran

In this undated photo released by the U.S. Marines, Sergeant Dakota Meyer poses for a photo while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Ganjgal Village, Kunar province, Afghanistan.
In this undated photo released by the U.S. Marines, Sergeant Dakota Meyer poses for a photo while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Ganjgal Village, Kunar province, Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama has awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, to a former Marine Corps corporal for extraordinary bravery while he was serving in Afghanistan.  Ceremeny took place Thursday ceremony in the White House East Room.

A native of Kentucky, former Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer already had received a Purple Heart and other decorations for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in the military's Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

After the White House ceremony, he is now the third living military veteran and first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for service in those countries, and the first living Marine to be so honored since 1973.

He is among 10 individuals, living or dead, to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in Iraq or Afghanistan, and the 6th veteran of the Afghan conflict to be so honored.

Official presentation was read:

"The president of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Corporal Dakota L. Meyer, U.S. Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Marine Embedded Training Team 28, Regional Corps Advisory Command 37, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009."

A turret gunner and driver in Afghanistan, Meyer was with an embedded Marine training team on September 8, 2009, when it came under fierce Taliban fire while traveling to a village in the Ganjgal Valley.

He made five trips in his armored Humvee into Taliban fire to save 13 Marines and U.S. Army soldiers, and 23 Afghan government troops.  Although he was wounded, he returned to the danger zone to help other wounded forces and retrieve the bodies of four U.S. soldiers.

President Obama spoke at the ceremony.

"Today we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight - again and again and again," said President Obama. "In so doing, he has earned our nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.'

Obama noted that Meyer, then a corporal but now a sergeant, in what is called the Individual Ready Reserve for Marines that can be called back to active duty, was only 21 years old when the event took place in Afghanistan.

There was some humor during the ceremony.  President Obama said that when his White House staff first telephoned Meyer at his civilian job to tell him he would receive the medal, he remarked he could not take the call, saying, "If I don't work, I don't get paid."  Mr. Obama said the White House arranged for Meyer to receive the call during his lunch break.

"Dakota is the kind of guy who gets the job done," said the president. "And I do appreciate Dakota your taking my call."

The day before the ceremony, Sergeant Meyer and the president shared a quiet moment and conversation over beers on an outdoor patio near the Oval Office.

In the audience for the ceremony were Meyer's father, grandparents, family and friends from Kentucky as well as members of his former Marine unit in Afghanistan and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Amos.

Describing Meyer as a modest man, and before draping the medal around his neck,  Obama said the occasion was significant for another reason.

"It is fitting that we do so this week having just marked the 10th anniversary of the [September 11, 2001 terrorist] attacks that took our nation to war because in Sergeant Dakota Meyer we see the best of a generation that has served with distinction through a decade of war," he said.

Because of Dakota Meyer's bravery and courage, President Obama said, 36 men are alive today and four fallen American heroes came home, so their families could lay them to rest.   

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid