Dakota Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the first living United States Marine in 41 years to be so honored.
Born and raised in Columbia, Sgt. Meyer enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2006 after graduating from Green County High School. He completed his basic training at Parris Island Recruit Training Depot later that year.
A school-trained sniper and highly skilled Marine infantryman, Sgt. Meyer deployed twice to combat duty. In 2007, he deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom; and in 2009-10, he deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
In September 2011, President Obama awarded Sgt. Meyer the Medal of Honor — the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government — in recognition of his acts of extraordinary valor on Sept. 8, 2009. Over the course of a six-hour firefight, without regard for his own personal safety, Sgt. Meyer repeatedly braved enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan to find and save fellow members of his embedded training team.
Wounded by shrapnel, Sgt. Meyer entered the kill zone numerous times to evacuate the Marines and soldiers along with the Afghan soldiers. On his last trip in, Sgt. Meyer recovered the bodies of three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman killed in the battle: 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, Hospital Corpsman Third Class James R. Layton and Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Wayne Johnson Jr.
Sgt. Dakota Meyer completed his active duty in 2010 and now serves in the Individual Ready Reserve of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Since returning to civilian life, Sgt. Meyer continues to work to tell the stories of the Marines with whom he served.