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Dakota Meyer, a Marine who disregarded orders, is awarded Medal of Honor

Dakota Meyer, a former Marine Corps corporal, was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 36 US and Afghan troops pinned down in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan in 2009.

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At a White House ceremony Thursday, former Marine Corps Cpl. Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest military award – for disregarding orders in Afghanistan.

Rather than stay at a relatively safe distance from an intense fire-fight in which fellow Marines, US Army soldiers, and Afghan soldiers had been caught in an ambush – which he had been ordered to do – Meyer went time and again into the killing zone. During the six-hour battle, he evacuated 12 of those pinned down, provided cover for another 24 to withdraw to safety, and killed at least eight Taliban fighters in the process.

Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry are the other living recipients of the award. Seven Medal of Honor awards have been made posthumously for heroic action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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