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HEROIC ACTIONS TAKEN BY A MARINE WHEN LEADERSHIP FAILED
on September 25, 2012
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.