Humble Medal Of Honor Recipient Felt 'Like A Failure'

Sep 15, 2011
Originally published on September 15, 2011 12:39 pm

There are many remarkable things about what U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer did two years ago in Afghanistan.

NPR's Tom Bowman tells the story of the then-corporal's heroics. Along with Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, Meyer (now a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve) disobeyed orders and undertook a dangerous, six-hour battle to rescue stranded troops who had been ambushed by enemy fighters.

They were up against mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. And they went back into the line of fire, "again and again," as Tom reported on Morning Edition.

One passage in Tom's report particularly struck us:

"After six hours, it was over. Meyer kept thinking one thing.

" 'You feel like a failure. Why isn't that you being carried on that bird? Why are you standing here and they're not?' Meyer said.

"Meyer was anything but a failure. His actions, say military officials, saved more than a dozen Marines and two dozen Afghan soldiers."

Today at 2:45 p.m. ET, President Obama is due to give Meyer the Medal of Honor — the nation's highest award for valor on the battlefield. He's the first living Marine to receive the award since the Vietnam War. The ceremony will be streamed here. We'll have more after that. (Rodriguez-Chavez already has been awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest award for valor.)

Meanwhile, here's more about Meyer:

-- His official profile.

-- The Marine Corps' account of his actions.

-- And a Medal of Honor Society video of Meyer talking about what happened.

-- Update at 2:40 p.m.the official citation.

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