Continuing what I would call a healthy, patriotic trend, President Obama will award yet another Medal of Honor to a living recipient for valor in combat in Afghanistan.
Dakota Meyer, a former Marine Corps corporal, will be the first living Marine Corps recipient of our nation's highest award for valor "since now-retired Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg received the medal for actions 41 years ago in Vietnam"; he will be the second Marine to receive the high honor for actions in the Afghanistan-Iraq conflicts; he will be the third living recipient of the award for actions in those two conflicts following the award of the Medal to Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry a week ago; and he will be the fifth service member to receive that recognition for heroism in the Afghanistan War from President Obama.
According to the Marine Corps Times, Meyer, on Sept. 8, 2009,
charged into a kill zone on foot and alone to find three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman, who had been pinned down under intense enemy fire in Ganjgal, a remote village near the Pakistan border in violent Kunar province.
Already wounded by shrapnel, Meyer found them dead and stripped of their gear and weapons, and helped carry them from the kill zone, according to military documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.
Other service members involved in the Ganjgal battle have received valor awards that include the Navy Cross to two surviving Marines, the Bronze Star with a "V" for valor to another surviving Marine and to the three Marines and one Navy Corpsman whom Meyer helped recover.
The battle -- the ambush -- at Ganjgal brings back painful memories and controversial accounts as four U.S. Marines died that day and another died from his wounds a month later at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in addition to an Afghan interpreter and at least eight Afghan security forces.
A subsequent Army investigation reported that "'negligent leadership' contributed 'directly to the loss of life' on the battlefield that day by refusing repeated pleas for artillery support from U.S. forces on the ground and failing to notify higher commands that they had troops in trouble. Three unidentified officers were recommended for letters of reprimand, and Army officials later said they were delivered to two of them."
It is not known yet when Dakota Meyer will receive the Medal of Honor.
I am proud to mention that Dakota Meyer now lives in my hometown, Austin, Tex.
Read more about these military heroes here.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.