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196 of 205 people found the following review helpful
A few things are apparent when reading this book. Sergeant Dakota Meyer was intensely dedicated to those he lived and fought with. The Ganjigal Valley is a bad, bad place. And those in command of providing support for these brave fighting men were hugely negligent in their duties to provide artillery and air support.

Sergeant Meyer is the first living Marine in three decades to be awarded the Medal of Honor. While most people think of that award as a huge achievement and acknowledgement of his actions, Dakota Meyer thinks of that day as the worst day of his life. He was not looking for an award, he was looking to rescue his teammates that were trapped in a ferocious battle. A battle he was repeatedly ordered not to engage in because the danger was so great. Orders he eventually disobeyed, and went to find his team.

The battle scenes are intense. There are dozens of times in Ginjigal where Dakota should have died. He made multiple trips in and out of the battlefield searching for his team and in the process saved many wounded Afghan soldiers by pulling them into his vehicle, or carrying them out of dangerous situations, with total disregard for his own safety.

Dakota Meyer was running from body to body trying to help. At one point he was recovering a dead Afghan soldier when an insurgent with an AK-47 approached and tried to kill him. Dakota's only action was to fire his 40MM grenade launcher directly into the insurgents chest at a distance so close the grenade was not able to arm itself. The grenade hit the insurgent's body armor and knocked him down giving Dakota enough time to close the distance and start wrestling with this man. He was finally able to finish him off with a rock.

Sergeant Meyer eventually finds his team but it is too late for them. He then wrestles with guilt for not being able to save them. He also wrestles with anger at the Army officials that refused to provide artillery or air support because they could not verify what was actually happening in that valley.

This entire battle was a classic textbook case of "everything that could go wrong, did go wrong." The most shocking part was that Dakota Meyer was actually able to walk away from this intense battle. He was not afraid to die, he had actually accepted that there was no way he was going to be able to survive, so he just kept on going, trying to help and save others.

After reading this book I wondered how he survived. The only answer I can think of is sometimes its just not your day to die.

Thank you for your service Sergeant Dakota Meyer. You are a true hero.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2012
It's not very often that you allow yourself to be gripped by something that makes you feel as if you're in the trenches of war yourself. Dakota and Bing have a way of pulling you in, of making you feel skin on skin in combat. I could feel the blood on my own shoulder, taste the sweat in my own mouth.
Dakota Meyer is truly a hero. Not only in his actions on the battlefield, not only because he disobeyed his team leaders orders and went in to save his team but also in his honest, heart felt depiction of the details in such touching words that the picture is clearly drawn for me.
We don't realize that in war, it's not what we see in the movies. There isn't always a master plan and no one really has a right answer. There is a chain of command. People die. And everyone's human. You will be haunted by your decisions for the rest of your life and if you're lucky, you survive to tell the story.
My hat's off to Dakota and all the other many heroes that fight for my freedom today, yesterday and every day to come.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2012
Bing West's latest book, co-written with Dakota Meyers, is an extraordinary account of one man's act of supreme heroism in the face of certain death -- told in a matter of fact way that doesn't resort to the sensationalism of some other recent military books. While the particular circumstances may make your blood boil and the risks Mr. Meyers willingly takes may make your skin crawl, this depiction of a regular Marine's life before, during and after this amazing episode should make us all realize that there are many, many heroes in uniform fighting for us and making the ultimate sacrifice every day. We owe them our undying gratitude and steadfast support upon their return.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I had the privilege of meeting Dakota while he was a student in Marine Sniper school in Hawaii. At the time none of us had any idea just what these young Marines were capable of. In his account of the Battle at Gangigal, you'll read just what being an American fighting man and US Marine are all about. The book takes you through his upbringing in KY, his family and friends and boot camp, training, sniper school and a tour in Iraq before volunteering to serve with a small advisory team. You need to read it yourself to hear the actual story in his words but it is quite amazing. His dedication, his honor and bravery and struggles he will have the rest of his life. Dakota is a true American hero and I am thankful he told his incredible story. Embedded in this story are the frustrations every American on the front line of the war in Afghanistan feel. The stupid rules of engagement that cost lives, the encroaching political correctness that is costing life after life on the front lines while the higher ups play war on TV screens. Thank you Dakota ... may the Lord bless you the rest of your life!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
As heart wrenching as Dakota's story is, his journey is insightful, emotional, inspiring, and most to my surprise, genuinely witty and smart. He deserves way more credit than he allows himself and his style of writing offers comic relief to the words you know await reading. In the end, I'm glad and grateful he's alive to tell his story and to revive my faith in people; sometimes the good guys DO win. Job well done and God bless!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
This is an incredible book. Intense read, very hard to put down and he brings you right into the battle with him and his men. He is a true Marine. Marines have a special bond with each other, but they also have a certain blood and that they will do anything and whatever it takes! He is certainly doing his team Proud each and everyday and as Dakota says himself, it's "For Those Who Gave All" for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice! This is a book that Everyone should read. Not just those who are in the military or have family or friends in the military, but anyone in the United States of America where our Freedom is protected by them and anyone in support of what these brave men and women do for us each day. This was one of the most horrific battles in 2009 and it's battles like this one where lives were lost and hearts were wrenched. We did not hear about this much or see it on the news - but in this book we learn about the story of these men, the bond they shared, their bravery and the ultimate sacrifice. Dakota, you went above and beyond for your men. It was an honor to read this book and because of you,These men will Not be Forgotten.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Dakota Meyer is a true american hero, and this book is a great account of an amazing event, and the effect it has had on his life is a lesson we can all learn from.

The book is inspirational, and Mr. Meyer's trials and tribulations are extraordinary. I think anyone in the service, or has family or friends in the service, should read this book. This book gives great insight.

If you've seen Dakota on TV, on Letterman or on 60 Minutes, it's cleat that he is a humble and dedicated American. Dakota received the Congressional Medal of Honor: This book is a testament to Dakota's strength and honor.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 3, 2012
This is the most intense and moving story, of Cpl. Dakota Meyer in a battle in Afghanistan, in which his best friends were KIA and he distinguished himself in gallantry and bravery. He trained hard, and that training and luck saved his life, during a 6 hour long battle in which his squad was ambushed by overpowering Taliban firepower from a superior position on high ground on three sides.

Dakota was almost captured when a Taliban kushman tapped him on the shoulder while he was recovering the body of his Afghan soldier buddy. His quick thinking enabled him to stun the enemy soldier and kill him in hand to hand combat with a rock. This book describes the intensity of the fighting, of having bullets whiz past his ears and head, tilling up the ground around his feet during the operation, the numbness of treating other soldiers who were severely wounded, and finding bodies of friends who died when he was unable to help them due to higher ups in the chain of command.

I highly recommend this book if you wish to know what close combat is like in Afghanistan, and the gut wrenching terror and bravery that this US Marine displayed for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
This book is a great first hand account of what it is really like out there for our soldiers. A inspiring story about a soldiers commitment to his team and no matter what he was not going to give up on them even if that meant going against orders. Through out this book you are with Dakota every step of the way. He did what he needed to do to get his team out no matter if that meant that he would get kicked out of the marines or not survive the day.

Sergeant Dakota Meyer is a true hero.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
This is a great peak into what a real American hero is like. You can tell from reading this that Dakota is the real deal. It is refreshing to see an unfiltered peak into what someone is really like, honesty and frankness is rare, especially from people in the public eye, and Dakota delivers it. Dakota is a true American hero and his story is a great one. I highly recommend it.
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