Marine from Kentucky to receive the Medal of Honor

July 21, 2011 

Dakota Meyer, who will be honored for his valor in Afghanistan in 2009, is a 2006 graduate of Green County High School.

WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials say President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to a Marine from Kentucky who braved enemy fire in Afghanistan in a bid to find and retrieve three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman.

Dakota Meyer, who left active duty in June 2010, will be the first living Marine in 41 years to receive the nation's highest award for valor.

Only two living recipients — Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry — have received the award for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decision to present the award to Meyer was first reported Tuesday by Leatherneck, a Marine Corps Association publication, and by the Marine Corps Times, an independent newspaper. Both said Obama called Meyer on Monday.

Meyer, a 2006 graduate of Green County High School, is originally from Greensburg. The Marine Corps Times said he now lives in Austin, Texas.

Meyer was nominated for the medal for his actions during a Sept. 8, 2009, firefight in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, according to the Marine Corps Times.

He had been wounded by shrapnel before going to get three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman, the Marine Corps Times reported. Meyer found the men dead and helped carry them out under heavy fire.

Meyer made the charge alone after military pilots spotted the four men in a ditch but could not reach them.

In November, after having been nominated for the Medal of Honor, Meyer told the Herald-Leader: "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."

Mike Meyer, Dakota Meyer's father, told the Herald-Leader in November that his son did not want the award for himself, and that the only thing Dakota Meyer really wanted was that the men who died that day be remembered.

"It ain't for him," Mike Meyer said. "It's for the family of the guys that didn't make it out."

After high school, Dakota Meyer decided he wasn't ready for college and joined the Marines.

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