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Dakota Meyer saved 36 lives from an ambush in Afghanistan and the former 23 year old Marine scout sniper from Columbia, Ky., will collect the nation's highest military honor at the White House on Thursday. While he is receiving the Medal of Honor, Meyer's slain comrades will be memorialized in hometown ceremonies at his request.

 

His hero's moment was his darkest day. Meyer lost some of his best friends the morning of Sept. 8, 2009, in far-off Kunar Province.

 

"It's hard, it's ... you know ... getting recognized for the worst day of your life, so it's... it's a really tough thing," Meyer said, struggling for words.

 

Meyer charged through heavy insurgent gunfire on five death defying trips in an armored Humvee to save 13 Marines and Army soldiers and another 23 Afghan troops pinned down by withering enemy fire. Meyer personally killed at least eight insurgents despite taking a shrapnel wound to one arm as he manned the gun turret of the Humvee and provided covering fire for the soldiers, according to the military.

In Afghanistan, Meyer was part of a security team supporting a patrol moving into a village in the Ganjgal Valley on the day of the ambush.

Meyer and the other Americans had gone to the area to train Afghan military members when, suddenly, the village lights went out and gunfire erupted. About 50 Taliban insurgents on mountainsides and in the village had ambushed the patrol.

As the forward team took fire and called for air support that wasn't coming, Meyer, a corporal at the time, begged his command to let him head into the incoming fire to help.

Four times he was denied his request before Meyer and another Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez=Chavez, jumped into the Humvee and headed into the fray. For his valor, Rodriguez-Chavez, a 34-year-old who hailed originally from Acuna, Mexico, would be awarded the Navy Cross.

September 15, 2011  10:04 AM ET

It is amazing what these kids going over there so young are doing for this country. Alot of these kids are going over to fight right out of highschool. It is incredible and I commend each and every one of them. Thank you to ALL who have served in the military.

September 15, 2011  11:38 AM ET

You know you dont have to ask me to voice my opinion on this.

September 15, 2011  11:40 AM ET

Manimal.. my grandson enlisted and went to boot camp this summer, between his junior and senior years of high school. Nearly the entire boot camp company was the same program. as it just barely fit between (most) school years.

less that ONE PERCENT of eligible to do so, in the US, step up and join a branch of the Armed Services.

September 15, 2011  12:04 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

It is amazing what these kids going over there so young are doing for this country. Alot of these kids are going over to fight right out of highschool. It is incredible and I commend each and every one of them. Thank you to ALL who have served in the military.

Well spoken.

And we as a nation don't do nearly enough for them and their families.

September 15, 2011  12:05 PM ET

I gave my 8 years. Signed up right out of school. I got lucky and served between this crap we have going on now and the persian gulf. Thought breifly about reenlisting but the wife slammed that door shut pretty quick.

September 15, 2011  12:07 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

We as a nation don't do nearly enough for them and their families.

Couldn't Agree more. Thank someone in the armed forces today.

September 15, 2011  12:21 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

I gave my 8 years. Signed up right out of school. I got lucky and served between this crap we have going on now and the persian gulf. Thought breifly about reenlisting but the wife slammed that door shut pretty quick.

I was USArmy so many years ago (1969) we had fatigues instead of camo and now the digital camo. Son was first in last out Desert Storm, hope the grandson gets to sit and be bored somewhere like Fort Polk for the bulk of his time. In some ways, overseas service is a tradition I hope we can break.

Comment #8 has been removed
September 15, 2011  01:17 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

In some ways, overseas service is a tradition I hope we can break.

Lets hope he can stay stateside.

September 15, 2011  01:43 PM ET

Four times he was denied his request before Meyer and another Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez=Chavez, jumped into the Humvee and headed into the fray. For his valor, Rodriguez-Chavez, a 34-year-old who hailed originally from Acuna, Mexico, would be awarded the Navy Cross.

A special word for those who risks not following orders to save his friends.

September 15, 2011  02:31 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Couldn't Agree more. Thank someone in the armed forces today.

I totally agree. This year at Bristol, they had service men and women surround the walkway that circles the track on the fans' side. After the invocation and National Anthem, the response that these young people got was unbelievable. High fives, handshakes, hugs and many, many thank yous. It was one of the coolest things I have ever witnesses.

September 15, 2011  05:21 PM ET

There isn't much that chokes me up anymore, but watching my son'snson, who also carries my name as my son does, march at boot camp grad sure did. Big step for a 17 year old

I'll quite blowing my own horn now

September 15, 2011  06:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

There isn't much that chokes me up anymore, but watching my son'snson, who also carries my name as my son does, march at boot camp grad sure did. Big step for a 17 year oldI'll quite blowing my own horn now

Nothing wrong with being proud of your loved ones!

September 15, 2011  10:00 PM ET

Some try to portray the people who enlist now as being ignorant or poorly educated. The young men and women who I have known that enlisted are anything but.

Pond, you have every reason to be proud.

September 16, 2011  09:40 AM ET

on CBS National news it did some parts of the ...

Dakota Meyer interview which will be on 60 minutes this Sunday ...

sounds very humble

 
September 16, 2011  01:49 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Some try to portray the people who enlist now as being ignorant or poorly educated. The young men and women who I have known that enlisted are anything but. Pond, you have every reason to be proud.

I agree. The young men and women from around here that have volunteered to serve are some of our brightest and most engaging young people. When my wife and I are travelling through airports, she always insists that I buy meals for any of the servicemen (or servicewomen) that are seated near us. They always come over to thank us and she always cries. These young people have never failed to make me proud of them. So Pond, it is only natural that you should be proud of your grandson. Heck, I am proud of him.

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