Behind the Cover: An exclusive interview with Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor nominee

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By now, many Marine Corps Times readers have read the news that the service has recommended that a former Marine corporal receive the Medal of Honor for valor last year in eastern Afghanistan.

It’s a story that we first broke last Monday online, citing a Marine source with knowledge of the awards process. It was subsequently confirmed by other Marine sources last week.

The circumstances of the case should make it no surprise that former Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 22, is hesitant to discuss his actions.

As we first outlined in a cover story in July, he is credited with running into a kill zone on foot to find four missing Marines, who had been pinned down and under fire by insurgents for hours in an early-morning ambush on Sept. 8, 2009. He and a staff sergeant already had been turned back twice under heavy fire while trying to get to the Marines in a Humvee.  After helicopter pilots said the fighting on the ground was too fierce to get to the pinned down team, Meyer went in alone, uncertain whether they were alive.

He found them dead and bloody in a ditch. Their weapons and radios were missing, and they had been stripped of their body armor, according to military documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.

For the first time since that ordeal, Meyer agreed last week to discuss how he has coped with the incident, what life is like for him now and how he remembers his friends, who gave the ultimate sacrifice. He is uncomfortable with the attention, but said if he can keep the memory of his fellow Marines alive, it’s worth it.

This is Dakota Meyer’s story, shared respectfully as he chooses to tell it now. A small portion of his time with Marine Corps Times was recorded here, while he visited friends at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., last week:

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About Author

I’m a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

5 Comments

  1. Robert Allen Reider Jr. on

    Living strong is a great tribute to your buddies. Please, Dakota, please link up with the vet center. Survivor guilt is quite a weight. I pray in time you can free yourself from those shackles and be free to revel in the time and bonds you all shared. If you haven’t considered it before, I would like to plant the seed. Vet Centers are autonomous from VAMC’s and do not share records. It’s a safe place. I know. Email me if you like.

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