WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2011 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta
inducted Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer
into Pentagon Hall of Heroes today, holding him up as an example of
courage, selfless service and the Corps' motto, “Always Faithful.”
Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer stands
next to a plaque bearing his name after he was inducted into the
Pentagon's Hall of Heroes during a ceremony in the Pentagon, Sept.
16, 2011. DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey
Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in the Pentagon Auditorium,
Panetta joined Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Marine Corps Commandant
Gen. James F. Amos in honoring Meyer as the 3,475th member of the
prestigious Pentagon Hall of Heroes.
Meyer became the first
living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for operations in
Afghanistan, where he repeatedly returned in the face of heavy enemy
fire to save his Marine, soldier and Afghan comrades and retrieve
the bodies of those killed.
President Barack Obama presented
Meyer the highest military honor yesterday during a White House
Today, Panetta recognized “the incredible valor and
the uncommon fearlessness” Meyer demonstrated, disregarding his own
safety to charge the enemy kill zone “again and again and again” to
search for his comrades and friends.
His actions saved 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers and 23
Afghan soldiers and police, Mabus noted.
went above the call of duty,” Panetta said.
actions, you have earned a place in history,” the secretary
told Meyer. “And the devotion you showed to your fellow
brothers in arms will never be forgotten.”
Meyer and those who served with him, “families are still
whole,” Mabus said. “Children and grandchildren are going to
be born. Marriages and graduations will get to be
celebrated. And at its most fundamental, life will
Panetta called Meyer an example of a
generation of young Americans who have come to their
country's service since 9/11. His story, the secretary said,
serves as an example and inspiration for all military
members, those who will serve in the future and to all
Amos said Meyer's actions reaffirm that
“despite the uncertain security environment in which we live
or the headlines which speak of ongoing crises around the
world, our nation still yet produces young men and women who
embody the timeless values of service over self.”
reminds us that we still have in our midst ordinary
Americans who do extraordinary things – patriots who
volunteer for the profession of arms,” and willingly putting
themselves in harm's way when called to do so to defend
their country, he said.
“There are no words, Sergeant
Meyer, that can adequately convey what you and your fellow
Marines do every day,” Mabus said. “And as we honor Sergeant
Meyer today, we also remember more than 20,000 Marines still
deployed in Afghanistan, still standing the watch so the
rest of us can sleep in our homes in peace.”
said he took time before yesterday's Medal of Honor ceremony
to emphasize the magnitude of it to Marines around the
“As prepared as we all thought we were, I
doubt that a single one of us who sat in that room and
listened to our president tell the story of what happened
that fateful day in the Konar province of Afghanistan
anticipated the overwhelming sense of national pride and
profound gratitude for a young Marine,” he said.
Amos, noting that he was honoring a living Marine Corps
Medal of Honor recipient for the first time in his
four-decade career, underscored that “there is nothing
routine about what happened yesterday and what is taking
place today” at the Pentagon.
“This is indeed a
momentous occasion -- and one that many of us will never
likely see again in our lifetimes,” he said.
of Dakota Meyer's Hall of Heroes Induction ceremony
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
President Obama's Medal of Honor
Presentation to Dakota Meyer
| Poem >
Hero Of The Corps
Dakota Meyer's Heroic
Story in His Own Words with Comments by Family and Friends
Comment on Dakota Meyer