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Marine Commandant Defends Medal of Honor Recipient Dakota MeyerTim King Salem-News.com
Everything about Dakota Meyer's service was honorable; and then everything went to hell in a handbasket after he reported BAE's attempt to sell military hardware to Pakistan.
(SALEM) - A McClatchy Newspaper reporter alleges in a series of articles, that the government beefed up the story of U.S. Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in September. This is not sitting well with Marines, particularly the top Marine officer, the Commandant, Gen. James F. Amos.
While McClatchy has done great work in the past revealing environmental problems affecting Marines and former Marines who served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, this new allegation follows the decision of a British military contracting firm, BAE Systems, to trash Dakota Meyer's character, calling this amazing American 'mentally unstable' and suggesting that he has an 'alcohol' problem.
Meyer blew the whistle on BAE Systems after discovering that they were planning to sell high-power sniper rifle scopes to the Pakistani military. As I detailed in my last article about Dakota Meyer, he spent significant time in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, right on the border with Pakistan. With regard to the potentially problematic nature of supplying weapon components of this nature to the Pakistanis, this former Marine non-commissioned officer just might know more than most people alive.
Everything about Dakota Meyer's service was honorable by all accounts; and then everything went to hell in a handbasket after he reported BAE's attempt to sell military hardware to Pakistan. It's a hell of a coincidence, and if the McClatchy account were true, why on earth did they wait to release their findings? Were they not aware of their own story prior to the awarding of the medal? At a time when the country is broken, would that not have been better to address sooner, rather than later?
Regardless of what they may admit, the media trashing of Dakota Meyer did not happen until after BAE Systems turned against him and launched their character defamation campaign.
With regard to BAE Systems, there is no evidence of any type to substantiate their claims about Meyer by the way; no history of alcoholism and he is extremely sound, and that is something to say about a person who has survived what he has. They were excited to have a Medal of Honor recipient on their team, and then when his sense of honor got in the way of their business operation, they turned their guns on him, and now McClatchy appears to have done the same thing.
Indeed, the motivations of the McClatchy article are suspect and absolutely would or could give strength to the BAE Systems attempt to degrade his character.
My thought is that the Marine Corps is not necessarily honest or forthright in their assessment of any situation that involves base contamination issues; however it is a tight military organization and their hard training pays off in situations like the one Meyer is credited with.
Apparently a pair of Army helicopter pilots from the 10th Mountain Division lost their careers over what took place that day. Meyer and and others are credited with getting 36 people to safety after a well organized, three-sided ambush. Apparently the Army pilots believed it was too dangerous. It was reported that Meyer violated a direct order when he, a corporal at the time, and a Staff Sergeant named Juan J. Rodriguez-Chavez, went into the affected area to bring out the living and the dead.
In the end it is possible that Marine Public Affairs got a detail wrong, or that they boosted the story in ways, but I think it is pretty darned close. I compare things like to the Holocaust; sometimes we must look at the larger picture because every detail can not be pinned down. What if there were not six million Jews killed... what if the number was five million, does the bigger picture change? I think not. Details as observed in the heat of combat on the battlefield, are often very inconsistent. Things happen fast and people are in some cases, watching their lives flash before their eyes. It is difficult and beyond any version of frightening that most people will ever come close to.
So while I give them credit, I think McClatchy's motives are suspect. If it were not for the BAE Systems campaign against Meyer, I would see it differently, but instead the media company let a little over a week pass before writing their attempt to dismantle the story. The Marine Corps is capable of error and the media is capable of error. Those who wrote up the story may have stretched out points to make them more significant. These things are possible but we can not be sure.
What we can be sure of, is that an effort is underway to damage the character of one of this country's largest-scale heroes.
Now, here is the statement released by the top U.S. Marine in regard to the Dakota Meyer Medal of Honor controversy.
Commandant addresses news article regarding Medal of Honor
WASHINGTON - The series of McClatchy news articles has cast doubt on the decision to award the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Dakota Meyer. I stand firmly behind the process and the decision to award the Medal of Honor to Sgt Meyer.
The Medal of Honor is our nation's highest award for bravery. Fittingly, it involves the most demanding of investigations and multiple levels of review. This process, followed scrupulously in this and other cases, is designed to confirm with as much certainty as possible that the level of bravery and self sacrifice displayed is worthy of this singular honor. Selflessness of this caliber cannot be measured under ordinary circumstances, because the ordinary does not evoke the extraordinary. Rather, the Medal of Honor requires that a display of heroism take place under the most difficult circumstances our service members can face. With life and death hanging in the balance, brave warriors, like Sgt Meyer and those who have gone before him, override their natural, instinctive impulses of self preservation and risk their lives to save others. Our highest honors are reserved for those who perform such deeds in combat while facing the enemy and braving his fire.
The Marine Corps has reviewed the investigations, the many and varied statements from those who observed the battle in the Ganjgal Valley, the statements of those who participated in pieces of that battle, as well as the multiple reviews and endorsements confirming that Sgt Meyer exhibited the rare courage and selflessness worthy of our nation's highest military honor. The ambush and ensuing six hour firefight was without a doubt a life defining event for those present that Fall morning. As such, the fight was seen and subsequently recorded from many different perspectives, each with a personal view of how events unfolded. This thorough review did not cause me to question the extraordinary heroism of then 21-year-old Corporal Meyer, nor the worthiness of the award; just the opposite occurred. Sworn testimonies substantiated the events of that morning and the extreme heroism of Dakota Meyer. The facts are that he saved many lives and recovered the bodies of his fallen comrades. In this, he did not act alone; other brave warriors-soldiers and Marines and Afghans-were also in the fight.
In the final analysis, I did not find cause to question any single fact, nor minor discrepancy that may be buried in descriptions of a battle that lasted for hours and evoked such bravery in our troops. My only question is - where do we find such men?
Gen. James F. Amos 35th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
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