Obama and Marines Gave False Account of Medal of Honor Winner’s Heroism
Friday, December 16, 2011
President Obama awards Medal of Honor to Dakota Meyer
The U.S. Marine Corps has been accused of pumping up the heroic story of Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
Meyer was awarded the military’s most distinguished honor in September at a White House ceremony, where President Barack Obama told of the soldier’s saving 13 Americans, rescuing two dozen Afghans and retrieving the bodies of fallen comrades.
But an investigation by McClatchy Newspapers, which had a reporter, Jonathan Landay, embedded with Meyer’s unit, found that “crucial parts” of the Marine Corps’ story were “untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated.” Also, military documents offered “no proof” that Meyer “personally killed at least eight Taliban insurgents,” according to the newspaper chain, even though the Marine Corps website said that he did.
According to Landay, the official accounts of Meyer’s actions are “marred by errors and inconsistencies, ascribe actions to Meyer that are unverified or didn’t happen and create precise, almost novelistic detail out of the jumbled and contradictory recollections of the Marines, soldiers and pilots engaged in battle.”
For example, Obama’s account stated that Meyer, who was manning a machine gun in the turret of a Humvee being driven by Staff Sergeant Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, leaped out to help several wounded Afghan soldiers into the Humvee, “each time exposing himself to all that enemy fire.” However Rodriguez-Chavez’s sworn statement was that Meyer never left the turret and the wounded Afghans climbed into the vehicle by themselves.
McClatchy is not disputing that Meyer behaved heroically or was not deserving of the medal. In fact, they questioned why, considering Meyer’s actual deeds, the Marines found it necessary to exaggerate what he had done.
Landay substantiated that the Marine braved “withering fire” while repeatedly returning to the ambush site with others to retrieve Afghan casualties and dead Americans, during which Meyer suffered a shrapnel wound in one arm. His actions, according to a commanding officer, amounted to “conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life … above and beyond the call of duty.”
The Meyer incident recalls the George W. Bush-era controversies in which the Defense Department gave fake versions of the March 2003 rescue of Army Private Jessica Lynch, who was not in danger, and the April 2004 killing of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was shot to death by his own troops.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Marines Promoted Inflated Story for MOH Recipient (by Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers)
Marine Medal of Honor Winner Sues Defense Contractor BAE for Defamation (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Why Did Dakota Meyer Receive Medal of Honor and Not Juan Rodriguez-Chavez? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S. POW, Overlooked in Jessica Lynch Story, Describes Her Experience (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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