Before the medal, a beer for Obama and Marine

Staff, wire reportsSeptember 14, 2011 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, who is to give Kentucky native Dakota Meyer the Medal of Honor on Thursday, shared a beer with the former Marine on Wednesday evening.

The White House said the private moment occurred on the patio outside the Oval Office.

On Sept. 8, 2009, in a narrow valley in mountainous northeastern Afghanistan, Meyer, then a 21-year-old corporal in the Marine Corps, repeatedly charged through enemy fire to rescue other Marines and U.S. and Afghan soldiers who had been ambushed by Taliban fighters.

"I was just waiting to get killed in there. I never thought I was going to make it out alive," Meyer told the Herald-Leader recently.

But Meyer, firing a heavy machine gun from the turret of a gun truck, killed at least eight insurgents, picked up wounded and dead men, and provided cover that allowed his team to fight its way out of certain death, according to the Marine Corps.

Meyer's efforts in the six-hour battle saved the lives of 13 Marines and soldiers and 23 Afghan soldiers, the Corps said.

Meyer will be the first living Marine to get the award in nearly four decades. He will become the 55th man born in Kentucky to be awarded the Medal of Honor since it was established during the Civil War, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Meyer, 23, grew up on a farm in Adair County, near the Green County line. He left active duty after his four-year stint was up in June 2010.

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