Medal of Honor to former Sgt. Dakota Meyer

July 6, 2012

WhiteHouse.org:

President Obama awards Sergeant Dakota L. Meyer, United States Marine Corps, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. [Ceremony:] September 15, 2011.

Video from the White House includes the prayers offered before and after the ceremony (excluded from the commercial television video).

The citation for Meyer’s Medal of Honor described his gallantry in detail:

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CORPORAL DAKOTA L. MEYER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

For service as set forth in the following

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner’s position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. 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. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer’s daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy’s attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Lessons of Vietnam: Honor the people who serve

July 5, 2012

Years ago I feared that many of us learned the wrong lessons from Vietnam, or if we learned the right ones, we weren’t applying what we’d learned.  This was a bit more important in the earlier days of our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.  So I wrote about one of the lessons we needed to improve on:  Honoring the people who serve, regardless our view on the entire engagement.

Someday, perhaps when I’m wiser, I’ll get back to that series on the lessons of Vietnam.

A lot of water flowed under the bridge since then.  A lot of blood flowed, too.

We did better with our two latest engagements, as a nation, in honoring soldiers.  For just one example, DFW Airport set up a special lounge for soldiers returning stateside, and dozens of organizations set up programs to get people out to welcome the soldiers from Iraq with an indoor parade of sorts — Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, groups of retired veterans and other citizens, school social studies classes, and many more.

That still leaves us with the scab of our treatment of veterans from Vietnam.  It’s been good to see cities and organizations make serious efforts to remember them specifically, as well as veterans of Korea-”The-Forgotten-War,” with soldiers and veterans of the modern conflicts.  There is more we need to do, I’m sure.

I ran into this short video from Moments.org.  I don’t know about the rest of that organization’s ministries, but this video got it right:

So, Wes, McClain, Kevin, Ben, Brenda, Steve, Pat, Al, Ken, Ray, David, Jeff and Jon, and all the rest of you who served, especially in or during Vietnam, consider this as one for you.

Tip of the old scrub brush to cmblake6, who probably won’t ever get another one here.  Happily surprised to find something right over there.

More, Resources:


Medal of Honor for Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta

January 12, 2011

President Obama awarded Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his courageous actions against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan in October 2007. November 16, 2010.  The ceremony inspires.  Notice at the end of the ceremony as the president turned to past Medal of Honor winners invited in for the moment.

Medal of Honor for Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, posted with vodpod

Greater depression

November 15, 2009

Musing on a short break from grading:  Is it possible to read Eschaton without getting horribly depressed at the incompetence and meanness in the White House — up to Obama?

And then one thinks of the challenges facing Obama.  The Great Depression was more psychological than economic.  Mine is, anyway, right now.


Bush didn’t bother to catch Osama bin Laden

October 25, 2008

Can this be accurate?

Gareth Porter argues in Asia Times that the Bush administration never had any plans to get Osama bin Laden they were too busy planning an attack on Iraq to have time to get the man who led the attacks against us.  So Osama bin Laden went free, free to attack the U.S. again and again.

New evidence from former United States officials reveals that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were able to skip Afghanistan for Pakistan unimpeded in the first weeks after September 11, 2001, as the George W Bush administration failed to plan to block their retreat.

Top administration officials instead gave priority to planning for war with Iraq, leaving the United States with not nearly enough troops or strategic airlift capacity to close the large number of possible exit routes through the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area where Bin Laden escaped in late 2001.

Because it had not been directed to plan for that contingency, the US military was also forced to turn down an offer from then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in late November 2001 to send 60,000 troops to intercept the al-Qaeda leaders.

Nuts.  Who could ever have guessed that incompetence in the White House could so cripple our military, and ultimately, so cripple our nation?

Can we move inauguration day up to December 1?  Please?


The energy policy speech the candidates should give

September 14, 2008

It emphasizes conservation and development of alternatives, but conservation mostly.  Conservation has already been tried and shown to work.

The crises in Iran and Afghanistan have dramatized a very important lesson: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our Nation’s security. The need has never been more urgent. At long last, we must have a clear, comprehensive energy policy for the United States.

Sounds like this guy has the proper perspective.  Who advocates a policy designed to keep us from war in the ‘Stans and the Middle East?

Jimmy Carter.  In 1980.  In his State of the Union speech.

Check it out at Patriots and Peoples. Carter’s policy is compared to McCain’s, and Obama’s.

And then consider the price of lost opportunities, and whether we can ever learn enough to avoid the punishing sword of Santayana’s Ghost, when we don’t learn from history.


Global warming hampers al Quaeda and Taliban?

August 4, 2008

Scrappleface has a feature on global warming hampering the efforts of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I’ll wager it was U.S.-caused warming, too.

(/hoax mode)

Scrappleface makes a good case for the satire abilities of the right-wing.  Alas, where satire is inappropriate, they can’t turn it off.  It’s almost impossible to distinguish between the satire of Scrappleface and the press releases from John McCain, or policy arguments from the Heritage Foundation.  Can we get someone to repeal Poe’s Law?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pseudo-Polymath.


Popular idea: Honor the soldiers, sailors and airmen

May 17, 2008

Interesting. The hottest post on this blog today is the one I wrote about honoring Armed Forces Day — last year! The post for Armed Forces Day this year is up there, too.

One of the lessons of Vietnam is that we need to honor our soldiers who go to defend the nation, even when the wars may be of dubious origin. The dubious origins of war cannot be blamed on the soldiers, sailors and airmen who go to do their duty, and they are the ones who can redeem the nation from a disastrous foreign policy, if anyone can.

Love the serviceman, hate the war. Honor the soldier, work on the politicians to change the policy. It’s a workable arrangement that honors good people for doing noble service.

Remember: Memorial Day honors those who died in service to the country; Veterans Day honors the veterans who came back, having served. Armed Forces Day honors those who serve today.

Fly your flag today.


Slap in the face for America’s soldiers

November 23, 2007

Put your coffee down. If you’re not ready to be outraged, don’t read any farther. Go on to the next post.

To demonstrate the barbarity and brutality of communist systems, or totalitarian governments, people often point to execution practices used in Stalinist Russia or, currently, in the People’s Republic of China. When a person is executed, usually with a bullet to the head, the family of the executed person is billed for the bullet.

Insult to injury, injury on injury, it’s heartless, the critics rightly say — and evidence of the inhumanity, the complete lack of human emotion in the government.

That’s not what this post is about. Can there be something worse?

U.S. soldiers disabled in Iraq and Afghanistan so that they cannot continue their military service are being billed by the Pentagon for their recruitment bonuses. Marty Griffin at KDKA television in Pittsburgh got the story, about a local Pennsylvania soldier (I have highlighted some parts of the story):

One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.

He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.

Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.

“I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they’re telling me they want their money back,” he explained.

It’s a slap for Fox’s mother, Susan Wardezak, who met with President Bush in Pittsburgh last May. He thanked her for starting Operation Pittsburgh Pride which has sent approximately 4,000 care packages.

He then sent her a letter expressing his concern over her son’s injuries, so she cannot understand the U.S. Government’s apparent lack of concern over injuries to countless U.S. Soldiers and demands that they return their bonuses.

No kidding.

See the video — it’s even more compelling.

Do you agree with me that this is an outrage? Do you agree this should not happen in the United States of America?

Should we act? Wait just a moment.

This is such a clear outrage, that when the news broke, the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department scrambled to say it is not so bad as it looks. Talking Points Memo Muckraker tracks the story; by now the government says it’s a mistake, and soldiers shouldn’t have to pay back the bonus.

So the official answer is that not as many soldiers were billed as Griffin claimed, and the Pentagon says they excuse the debts if the soldier complains.

What if the soldier doesn’t complain, but just pays?

How could any system do this in the first place?

Can we believe an administration that has lied to get out of accountability for so many other scrapes in this war?

Keep checking for followups.

Also, if you have received one of these letters, or if you know someone who has, please tell us.

Be ready to act by noting these numbers:

Watch the news.  If this outrage is not corrected, your voice will be important.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.


White House refuses anti-war petition from Christians

October 13, 2007

Two Christian leaders were arrested after they held up copies of anti-war petitions they were trying to deliver to the White House.

Earlier in the day they had delivered the petitions to leaders in Congress, in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

In unrelated news, surgery to remove George Bush’s fingers from his ears was unsuccessful.

(Would it hurt Bush to just gracefully accept the petitions and deprive these people of a chance to be arrested?)

[Video of the arrest is posted with the press release.  Thanks to those who wrote to let me know whether my attempt to embed the video here worked (it didn't).]


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