A Marine who braved enemy fire alone to retrieve the bodies of his fallen comrades will be awarded the Medal of Honor, Marine Corps Times reports.
Dakota Meyer, who now lives in Austin, Texas, will be the first living Marine to receive the nation's highest military honor since the Vietnam War. Two living Army soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, have received the medal in the past year.
Meyer will be recognized for his actions on September 8, 2009, in Ganjgal, a remote Afghan village near the border with Pakistan. As his unit of 13 U.S. service members came under attack by a force of 50 heavily-armed insurgents, Meyer, a corporal at the time, repeatedly ran through enemy fire to recover the bodies of fellow American troops.
Killed in Ganjgal were Marine 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Gunnery Sgts. Edwin Johnson and Aaron Kenefick and Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class James Layton, according to the Marine Corps Times. An Army soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook, later died of wounds sustained during the battle.
"Whatever award comes out of it, it's for those guys (who were killed) not for me," Meyer said in an interview with Military Times.
"I feel the furthest thing from a hero," he said. "The way I view it is I let those guys down."
President Barack Obama contacted Meyer with news of the award on Monday, according to the Marine Corps Times report. A defense official with knowledge of the award process told CNN last November that former U.S. Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway made the recommendation that Meyer received the medal just before he retired last year.
Meyer is no longer on active duty. He said he left the Corps after his four-year enlistment was completed.