(WHAS11) A heavy firefight didn’t stop a Green County, Kentucky native from going beyond the call of duty in Afghanistan. The man who served as a marine saved the lives of Afghan soldiers and pulled the bodies of his comrades out of the battlefield.
WHAS11’s Melissa Swan spoke to the man who is about to receive recognition from the White House. The young man, just 23-years-old, will soon receive this country’s highest military honor; the Medal of Honor, but don’t call Dakota Meyer a hero, he doesn’t want that title.
What he does want is to let everyone know who the true heroes are.
At a hot, dusty construction site, reluctant hero works hard. In the searing heat, he spends his day smoothing dirt and standing in mud and that’s just fine with Meyer.
Meyer is a former high school athlete and graduate of Green County High School. His senior year, he made a decision that would take him far from Kentucky. “I was 17 when I went to boot camp,” said Meyer. He would be a marine.
Meyer was soon at boot camp in Paris, Island, where he was trained as an infantry sniper and soon in fire fights in Afghanistan. It was one of those fire fights for which Corporal Dakota Meyer will be honored. Even with bullets flying, Dakota Meyer didn’t hesitate; he relied on his training, his whole heart to bring out his brothers.
The Pentagon says, under heavy fire Dakota Meyer made repeated attempts to save Afghan soldiers and made five solo trips to pull out the bodies of his fallen comrades. He hates being called a hero. “Because, you know, if this is what it feels like to be a hero, you can have it; you miss your buddies, I miss my family, my brothers....” said Meyer.
They died two years ago; today and every day since, Meyer wears a black band on each wrist that are etched with four names: Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, 1st Lt. Michael Johnson and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton.
With his feet firmly planted on the ground, Dakota Meyer says he knows exactly who he is. “I’m the furthest thing from a hero. The heroes are the men and women serving and who will serve, those are the heroes. I’m a concrete pourer. I’m not a hero.”
There are only two living Medal of Honor recipients from the Afghanistan war, and only about 75 all total. Dakota Meyer, who’s no longer on active duty, is the first Marine to receive the honor in 41 years.
Meyer will receive the medal from President Barack Obama; the date has not yet been set for the ceremony.
Dakota enjoys his life now; working for McDan Incorporated and tonight he’s taking his girlfriend to see Rascal Flats.