Browsing: Ganjgal

Capt. Will Swenson, next Medal of Honor recipient, sends touching invitation to Gold Star families

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Former Army Capt. Will Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor on Oct. 15, more than four years after he and other U.S. forces tried desperately to find and save three Marines and a Navy corpsman who were trapped under heavy fire in the infamous Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan. Those troops didn’t make it out of the Sept. 8, 2009, ambush alive, but Swenson has not forgotten them. He invited the families of Marine 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick and Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class James Layton to his White House ceremony, said…

Dakota Meyer’s interpreter, once scared in Afghanistan, now safe at U.S. Wal-Mart

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In recent weeks, Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has forcefully advocated for the U.S. to allow his former Afghan interpreter into the U.S., saying the man feared for his life after getting death threats from the Taliban. Fayez, shown at right with Meyer, is now in the U.S. The Marine posted the photograph on Twitter on Friday, adding a note that showed relief. “Back together finally,” Meyer said. “Fazel is in America.” Fazel — known in a lot of previous media coverage as Hafez to protect his identify — was in the Ganjgal Valley in eastern Afghanistan on Sept.…

Gritty war-zone video emerges of Capt. Will Swenson, next Medal of Honor recipient

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The White House announced on Monday that former Army Capt. Will Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor on Oct. 15, four years after he braved enemy fire repeatedly while leading U.S. forces through a horrific ambush that erupted in eastern Afghanistan. The Battle of Ganjgal on Sept. 8, 2009, is especially well known because Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer already received the nation’s top award for valor that day. Until tonight, however, few had seen a gritty war-zone video of Swenson on the battlefield during it. A sergeant in the Army National Guard recorded it while working that day on…

Dakota Meyer asks: Why can’t the U.S. bring my intrepreter home?

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With a deadly firefight raging, five men hopped into a Humvee and rode toward a small mountainside village in Afghanistan looking for a four-man team of U.S. forces that had gone missing in combat. The possibility that all five men wouldn’t make it out of the village of Ganjgal, in Kunar province, was high. Already, multiple Afghan troops the Americans were training had been cut down by machine-gun fire in a fierce ambush that was launched about dawn on Sept. 8, 2009. U.S. Army officers at nearby Forward Operating Base Joyce had declined to send air support in a timely…

Quantico trails named for OEF/OIF battles

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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Officer candidates will now be training and running on trails named for some of the hardest battles fought by Marines during the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Col. Kris Stillings, commanding officer at Officer Candidates School, led a ceremony today here at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. He stood with officer candidates lined up in formation at the newly named intersection of Fallujah and Kunar trails. Sangin Trail, the third to be named, runs slightly to the north. “These trails, just like the other trails we have here … these names mean something,”…

Media blitz for Dakota Meyer’s new book begins today

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It has been more than a year since President Obama draped the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest valor award, around the neck of Dakota Meyer. Today, the Marine’s own account of the Sept. 8, 2009, ambush in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, that led to the award hits shelves in bookstores. “Into the Fire,” written with the help of author Bing West, recounts the botched mission in which he and several other U.S. service members risked life and limb in an attempt to recover the bodies of four fellow members of an embedded training team that had gone missing in a maelstrom…

Behind the Cover: In new book, Dakota Meyer unloads

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Last week, I reported for Marine Corps Times that Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer acknowledges in his new book that he attempted to kill himself in 2010, one year after surviving the battle that led to him receiving the nation’s top valor award. The story generated a wide range of reaction from readers. Some blasted me for writing a story specifically about Meyer’s struggles, even though he chose to speak about it freely in an interview and disclosed the suicide attempt in his forthcoming book, “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War.” Others praised…

Marine hero Dakota Meyer’s book set for September release

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Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer’s new book is scheduled to be released in September, three years after the devastating battle that led to his heroic actions. “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War” will be available Sept. 25, according to its listing on Amazon.com. The 272-page book is written by Meyer and Bing West, a Marine veteran who has authored several best-selling works. It will be published by Random House, which also has it listed on its website. The cover image of the book shows Meyer in Afghanistan in 2009, wearing…

Marine hero Dakota Meyer launches new blog

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Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has had a busy year since receiving the nation’s highest valor award in a ceremony at the White House in September. Mostly, his work has focused on public speaking appearances and raising money for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. However, he’s also become perhaps the first Medal of Honor recipient to actively engage the public on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter. On top of that, he’s now added a blog outlining some of his work. “Actions Not Words” was launched March 16, and has been used since to highlight tornado relief work…

Dakota Meyer’s Medal of Honor saga continues

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Sgt. Dakota Meyer was presented the Medal of Honor in September, and it was hard to not get swept away in the excitement. Hundreds of people packed the East Room in the White House as President Obama hung the award around his neck. Millions more watched the ceremony on TV. And at the center of it all was a painful situation that will be difficult for families connected to the ambush in which Meyer’s heroism was honored to ever accept. I’ve written at great length about the Sept. 8, 2009, ambush in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, so there’s no reason to cover…

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