Dakota Meyer is America, born and raised in Columbia, Kentucky. He decided to enlist into the Marine Corps in 2006, a decision which led up to a fateful morning.
On Sept. 8, 2009, Meyer was moving with his patrol into the village of Ganjgal, Afghanistan for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Suddenly, more than 50 enemy fighters ambushed the patrol, firing RPGs, mortars, and machine guns from the hilltops above.
Meyer heard over the radio that four U.S. team members had been cut off, and he jumped into action. With another Marine driving, Meyer swung into the gunner's position—exposing himself to enemy fire—and the team headed right into the ambush, hoping to rescue the stranded Americans.
With enemy fire now concentrated solely on Meyer and his partner, Meyer killed several enemy fighters with the mounted machine gun and his rifle. In the midst of the attack, they found two dozen Afghan soldiers, some wounded. Led by Meyer's initiative, the two Marines evacuated some of the soldiers, then went back into the ambush to evacuate the rest.
When one machine gun stopped working, Meyer directed their return to the rally point and switched to another gun truck, before charging back into the ambush, for a third time. His fire supported the remaining U.S. team members and Afghan soldiers trying to fight their way out of the ambush. But he still couldn't locate the four stranded U.S. team members.
"Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members," his official citation reads.
Still dodging heavy fire, Meyer jumped off the truck on their fifth trip, searching for his fellow Marines. He soon located the bodies of his team members and recovered them from the ambush zone.