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Thu December 15, 2011
Report: 'Marines Promoted Inflated Story For Medal Of Honor Recipient'
"Crucial parts" of the story that Marine Corps officials told about Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer's bravery in Afghanistan are "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents" that McClatchy Newspapers has examined and reporting done by a McClatchy correspondent who survived the ambush in which Meyer performed heroically.
In a long report based on extensive research, correspondent Jonathan S. Landay writes that:
"Meyer, the 296th Marine to earn the medal, by all accounts deserved his nomination. At least seven witnesses attested to him performing heroic deeds "in the face of almost certain death."
But, Landay reports, among the facts that Marine Corps officials embellished in some accounts was the claim that Meyer's repeated trips to evacuate comrades who were under fire during a 2009 ambush in Afghanistan saved the lives of 13 Americans. In fact, "12 Americans were ambushed," including Landay, and "of those, four were killed."
Landay also reports that it's not clear, as the Marine Corps had said, that Meyer and another Marine disobeyed orders to mount their rescue attempts. And evidence is lacking that Meyer killed at least eight Taliban insurgents.
The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest award for valor. Marine Corps officials tell McClatchy that while the official citation about Meyer's award was formally vetted, some of the other materials produced by the Marines were based on "Meyer's narrative of the sequence of events" and were not vetted.
Just before McClatchy's story was published last night, the Marine Corps added a disclaimer to the top of its webpage about him. "The 'Heroic Actions' summary was compiled in collaboration with Sgt. Dakota Meyer's personal account and HQMC Division of Public Affairs," it reads.
McClatchy says that "reached by telephone Wednesday, Meyer declined to comment."
Meyer has also been in the news in recent days because he is suing a defense contractor he worked with because, as All Things Considered reported, he alleges the firm "blocked him from another job in the defense industry as retaliation for his objections to selling high-tech instruments to the Pakistani military."
At the Sept. 15 ceremony where Meyer was awarded the medal, President Obama praised him for being among "the best of a generation that has served through distinction through a decade of war."