Dakota Meyer’s story: A footnote

John posted the video on Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer (the video is posted here). Dakota Meyer is one of two men awarded the Medal of Honor for action during the seven-hour battle in Afghanistan’s Ganjgal valley, near the Pakistan border, on September 8, 2009. The story of the second Medal of Honor recipient — Captain William Swenson — raises issues with details of Dakota Meyer’s story and is of interest by itself. Captain Swenson appears at about 5:20 and 13:50 in the video John posted, which also notes Captain Swenson’s Medal of Honor in the summary at the end.

McClatchyDC reporter Jonathan Landay was embedded with our forces during the battle in the Gangjal Valley. Indeed, he was pinned down with Captain Swenson at the outset of the battle. In December 2011, Landay took a look at Dakota Meyer’s story in “Marines promoted inflated story for Medal of Honor recipient.” Neil McCabe talked to Landay for the Human Events piece “I wrote my article to liberate Dakota.”

Landay followed up his 2011 story with a 2012 article based on interviews with Afghan soldiers and a 2013 article taking up Dakota Meyer’s memoir Into the Fire (written with Bing West).

This past October Captain Swenson was finally awarded the Medal of Honor after a long delay that makes out another story. The Washington Post’s David Nakamura put Swenson’s Medal of Honor in context in “For Medal of Honor recipient Captain William Swenson, a rocky path to the White House.” Nakamura reported that questions raised by Swenson “resulted in reprimands for two other officers and what he and others say was an effort by the Army to discredit him. His account also cast doubt on the exploits of another Medal of Honor recipient from the same battle, Dakota Meyer of the Marine Corps.”

Don Lamothe took up Nakamura’s story for the Air Force Times in “Rift between Medal of Honor recipients exposed.” McClatchy took note of Captain Swenson’s award in “Obama to award ‘lost’ Medal of Honor to Army captain,” which includes a video with narrative provided by Landay, and Landay’s “Ex-soldier receives historic Medal of Honor for valor in Afghan battle.” Interested readers may want to take a look and try to sort the story out for themselves.


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