By Marine Corps Cpl. Reece Lodder
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Aug. 13, 2011 – Removed from an ambushed platoon of Marines and soldiers in a remote Afghan village on Sept. 8, 2009, his reality viciously shaken by an onslaught of enemy fighters, Marine Corps Cpl. Dakota Meyer simply reacted as he knew best - tackling what he called "extraordinary circumstances" by "doing the right thing -- whatever it takes."
Nearly two years later, the White House announced yesterday that the 23-year-old Marine scout sniper from Columbia, Ky., who has since left the Marine Corps, will become the first living Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor in 38 years. Retired Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg Jr. received the medal in 1973 for gallantry in Vietnam three years earlier.
Meyer is the second Marine to receive the medal for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Cpl. Jason Dunham was awarded the medal posthumously for covering a grenade with his body to save two Marines in Iraq in 2004. President Barack Obama will present the award to Meyer at the White House on Sept. 15.
"The award honors the men who gave their lives that day, and the men who were in that fight," Meyer said. "I didn't do anything more than any other Marine would. I was put in an extraordinary circumstance, and I just did my job."
"Being a Marine is a way of life," Meyer said. "It isn't just a word, and it's not just about the uniform - it's about brotherhood. Brotherhood means that when you turn around, they're there, through thick and thin. If you can't take care of your brothers, what can you do in life?"