Aug. 15 - Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer says he does not feel like a hero for recovering bodies of fallen comrades under heavy fire in Afghanistan. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
In 2009 some 521 Americans soldiers died in the war in Afghanistan. In September alone 70 were killed. Opinion polls at the time showed waning support for the war. Inside the White House debate was raging over whether to send more troops, for what President Barack Obama had called "A war of Necessity." On September 8th in a small village in Eastern Afghanistan, Marines came under heavy fire. Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer describes the day. SOUNDBITE: Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, saying: (English) "They took contact. they started taking fire from the enemy when they got in there. Air support was supposed come in there in 15 minutes It wasn't showing up, so myself and another staff sergeant decided that we need to go on there and try to help. So, we went in there ins a truck made five trips in. I had another team, another captain named Captain Swenson who who was right there next to us and Let Fabio, we went in four or fovea times. trying to get as many Afghans and Americans out as wee could and once we got in there we found the bodies of my team. " Meyer was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. The 23-year old Kentucky native will be the third third living recipient - and first Marine - to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He says he didn't even think about going in under heavy fire. SOUNDBITE: Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, saying: (English) "It's a real simple decision to make to go back in there and get them. We went in there five times. I never once thought they were all dead. When I got there and found them all dead it's the worst feeling ever." Meyer completed his active duty last year. He's back in Kentucky now working for a cousin pouring concrete. SOUNDBITE: Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, saying: (English) "It's hard. It is even harder to come home knowing, having a lot of people call you a hero and getting recognized for something you feel like you are a failure for in the worst day of your life." He says the Medal of Honor is more about the Marines than himself. SOUNDBITE: Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, saying: (English) "It's a great honor to get it . I don't; feel like it is for me. It is a great recognition for the marine Corp, for the marines that died that day, for the marines that made the ultimate sacrifice and for Marines that will keep going and fighting. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awared by the United States government. He is the first living Marine to receive the honor since the Vietnam war. The official ceremony will be held at the White House on September 15th. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.