Cabo Primero Dakota L. Meyer. MEDALLA DE HONOR.

Medalla de HonorEl pasado 15 de septiembre de 2011, poco más de dos años después de los hechos causantes, el Cabo Primero del Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina de los Estados Unidos Dakota L. Meyer recibió de mano del mismísimo Presidente de los Estados Unidos, en nombre del Congreso de los EE.UU., la Medalla de Honor (Medal of Honor), que constituye la máxima condecoración militar en los Estados Unidos.

Dakota es el único infante de marina estadounidense con vida que recibe la Medalla de Honor desde la Guerra de Vietnam, siendo además el más joven en recibirla a lo largo de su historia.

La Medalla de Honor se concede a aquellos miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas de los Estados Unidos que se distinguen por su “manifiesto valor y audacia arriesgando su propia vida por encima y más allá del deber durante un combate contra un enemigo de los Estados Unidos”. Debido a la naturaleza del criterio de concesión esta condecoración se otorga normalmente a título póstumo, como así ha ocurrido para más de la mitad de las concesiones realizadas desde 1941.

ACCIONES HEROICAS.

Cabo Dakota L. Meyer

Cabo Dakota L. Meyer

El 8 de septiembre de 2009, aproximadamente 15 kilómetros al Sur del pueblo de Ganjgal, en la provincia de Kunar (Afganistán), el Equipo de Adiestramiento Adjunto 2-8 [Embedded Training Team (ETT) 2-8] del Mando Asesor del Cuerpo Regional 3-7 [Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7] se unió a los miembros del 1er Batallón (Kandak) de la 2ª Brigada del 201º Cuerpo del Ejército de Tierra Nacional Afgano [Afghan National Army (ANA)] y el 2º Batallón (Kandak) de la Policía Fronteriza Afgana [Afghan Border Police] durante una operación conjunta para llevar a cabo un encuentro con los líderes del pueblo en el que debatir los planes para el desarrollo de la seguridad en la zona. Los asesores del ETT se distribuyeron en grupos de 4 entre las fuerzas del ANA/ABP. En aquel momento, el Cabo Primero (Cabo por aquel entonces) Dakota L. Meyer estaba integrado en su ETT de cuatro hombres, formado por el Teniente Michael Johnson, el Sargento Aaron Kenefick y el Cabo de la Armada James Layton. Para esta operación la unidad conjunta se dividió en cuatro elementos: un puesto de observación, una fuerza de reacción rápida [Quick Reaction Force, (QRF)], una patrulla a pie y un elemento de seguridad en el punto de reunión sobre el objetivo [Objective Rally Point (ORP)]. Meyer fue asignado al elemento de seguridad en el ORP mientras su equipo ETT, al que ahora se le había unido el Sargento Primero Edwin Johnson, actuaba como el elemento de vanguardia de la unidad conjunta.

La unidad conjunta, compuesta por soldados e infantes de marina americanos y fuerzas del ANA/ABP, desembarcaron en el ORP, dejando atrás sus vehículos con el Sargento Juan Rodríguez-Chávez y el Cabo Meyer. Desde su posición el Cabo Meyer observó como la patrulla se dirigía al pueblo a pie. Cuando se estaban acercando las luces del pueblo se apagaron y la patrulla fue emboscada, aproximadamente a las 0530 horas, por más de 50 insurgentes que se distribuían en posiciones bien fortificadas a lo largo de una zona de muerte premeditada en forma de U de un kilómetro de largo dentro del pueblo de Ganjgal y desde las montañas del valle de Ganjgal.

Cabo Primero Dakota L. Meyer

Cabo Primero Dakota L. Meyer tras recibir la Medalla de Honor de manos del Presidente Barack Obama

Los soldados e infantes de marina americanos y las fuerzas del ANA/ABP se pusieron a cubierto, respondieron al fuego y realizaron varios intentos de petición de fuegos de artillería y apoyo aéreo. Meyer recibió la orden de permanecer en su puesto en el ORP. El elemento de vanguardia, su equipo ETT, había sido atrapado en su posición y rodeado por el fuego enemigo. Mientras las bajas aumentaban, la unidad conjunta permaneció atrapada sin apoyo durante dos horas. Al escuchar al Teniente Johnson gritar por radio “Si no me dais apoyo aéreo vamos a morir aquí” Meyer solicitó permiso para entrar en la zona de muerte y éste le fue denegado las cuatro veces que preguntó. Tras cuatro negativas, tomó por su cuenta la iniciativa de abandonar su relativamente segura posición en el ORP. Meyer subió a un vehículo armado mientras Rodríguez-Chávez conducía.

Sin contacto con el elemento de vanguardia, Meyer y Rodríguez-Chávez recorrieron el kilómetro de la “zona de muerte” y entraron en la zona de fuego más intenso, sin la ayuda de armas de apoyo, para socorrer a los soldados e infantes de marina americanos y fuerzas del ANA/ABP heridos. Los dos infantes de marina se convirtieron en el centro de atención del fuego enemigo, que disparaba sobre ellos con morteros, granadas propulsadas por cohetes (RPGs), ametralladoras y armas portátiles.

Sin vacilar ni un segundo, Meyer y Rodríguez-Chávez evacuaron a los heridos, les proporcionaron primeros auxilios y recuperaron los cuerpos de la unidad conjunta, trasladándolos de vuelta al punto de reunión de bajas [casualty collection point (CCP)], para volver a aventurarse en la zona de muerte otras cuatro veces más, todavía tratando de localizar al elemento de vanguardia.

Cuando volvieron a entrar en la zona de muerte, Rodríguez-Chávez le advirtió a Meyer que podrían quedarse apifonados más adelante en el escabroso terreno. A pesar del riesgo, Meyer se mantuvo firme en su empeño y comentó “Supongo que moriremos con ellos”. Cuando reanudaron el movimiento a vanguardia, los dos continuaban siendo el blanco del ataque enemigo. Rodríguez-Chávez conducía el HMMWV mientras Meyer respondía al enemigo con fuego eficaz desde la torreta. Una interrupción en el arma obligó a los dos infantes de marina a volver al ORP para cambiar de vehículo y disponer de una ametralladora pesada que funcionara. En su camino de vuelta se encontraron con más heridos que rescataron y trasladaron hasta una zona segura.  Durante el recorrido Meyer fue herido en el brazo por un RPG y fuego de mortero pero esto no le detendría.

Todavía en la búsqueda de su ETT, Meyer dirigió un quinto y último viaje de vuelta a la zona de muerte acompañado por el Teniente de Infantería de Marina Ademola Fabayo y el Capitán del Ejército de Tierra William Swenson. Finalmente, horas después del comienzo del combate, llegó el apoyo aéreo en forma de un helicóptero UH-60 que les proporcionó la muy necesario cobertura de fuego. Los Pararescue a bordo del helicóptero informaron a Meyer sobre el avistamiento de lo que parecían ser cuatro cadáveres. Meyer bajó del HMMWV y corrió hasta la posición. Incluso con el helicóptero vigilándole desde arriba, ahora Meyer se encontraba en grave peligro, moviéndose entre las casas y recibiendo un alto volumen de fuego enemigo. Meyer, ignorando el continuo fuego de armas portátiles, morteros, RPGs y ametralladoras, corrió en la dirección del helicóptero hasta que se encontró con los cuatro cuerpos sin vida de los cuatro asesores desaparecidos, su ETT. Con la ayuda de Swenson y el comandante de la ABP Meyer sacó los cuerpo de allí.

Durante el trancurso de las seis horas de combate, sin tener en cuenta su propia seguridad, Meyer entró en la zona de muerte hasta en cinco ocasiones para evacuar a los heridos, proporcionar primeros auxilios y, en última instancia, salvar las vidas de 13 soldados e infantes de marina estadounidenses y 23 soldados afganos. Meyer acabó personalmente con la vida de al menos 8 insurgentes talibanes mientras proporcionaba cobertura a su equipo para que pudieran escapar de una muerte segura.

Aún después de todo su valiente esfuerzo Meyer no se considera un héroe. “Los héroes son los hombres y mujeres que todavía sirven en el Cuerpo”, dijo.

El pasado 16 de septiembre tuvo lugar la ceremonia en honor al Cabo Primero Dakota Meyer en las dependencias del U.S. Marine Corps Barracks and Commandant’s House, en Washington D.C. El Comandante del Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina de los EE.UU., General James F. Amos, entregó la bandera que simboliza la Medalla de Honor a Meyer.

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0 respuestas a Cabo Primero Dakota L. Meyer. MEDALLA DE HONOR.

  1. Alejandro de Ory Arriaga dijo:

    Impresionante una vez mas el patriotismo de los Hombres con uniforme en los EEUU.Siempre serán una escuela para los que también hemos tenido la suerte de llevar nuestro uniforme y nuestra Bandera con Honor.Alejandro de Ory,Capitan de Navio,Cadiz

  2. Gracias por la transcripción, brother. Ahora sí he podido entender lo que se dice en la ceremonia.

  3. MA dijo:

    Thank you, everybody. Please be seated. Thank you, Chaplain Kibben. Good afternoon, everyone. And on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.

    It’s been said that “where there is a brave man, in the thickest of the fight, there is the post of honor.” Today, we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight — again and again and again. In so doing, he has earned our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. And we are extraordinarily proud of Sergeant Dakota Meyer. (Applause.)

    Today is only the third time during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that a recipient of the Medal of Honor has been able to accept it in person. And we are honored to be joined by one of the two other recipients — Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, who is here.

    I would point out something else — of all the Medal of Honor recipients in recent decades, Dakota is also one of the youngest. He’s 23 years old. And he performed the extraordinary actions for which he is being recognized today when he was just 21 years old.

    Despite all this, I have to say Dakota is one of the most down-to-Earth guys that you will ever meet. In fact, when my staff first tried to arrange the phone call so I could tell him that I’d approved this medal, Dakota was at work, at his new civilian job, on a construction site. He felt he couldn’t take the call right then, because he said, “If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.” (Laughter.) So we arranged to make sure he got the call during his lunch break. (Laughter.) I told him the news, and then he went right back to work. (Laughter.) That’s the kind of guy he is. He also asked to have a beer with me, which we were able to execute yesterday.

    Dakota is the kind of guy who gets the job done. And I do appreciate, Dakota, you taking my call. (Laughter.) The Medal of Honor reflects the gratitude of the entire nation. So we’re joined here by members of Congress, including somebody from your home state, the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell. We are joined here by leaders from across my administration, including Secretary of Veterans Affairs Ric Shinseki and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and leaders from across our Armed Forces, including the Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos.

    We’re honored to welcome Dakota’s father, Mike, who’s here; his extraordinary grandparents; and more than 120 of Dakota’s family and friends, many from his home state of Kentucky. I want to welcome Dakota’s comrades from the Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, and we are humbled by the presence of the members of the Medal of Honor Society.

    Dakota, I realize the past two years have not been easy for you, retelling the story of that day and standing here today. You’re a very modest young man. But, as you’ve said, you do it for a simple reason — retelling the story — because it helps you to honor those who didn’t come home, and to remind your fellow Americans that our men and women in uniform are over there fighting every single day.

    So that’s how we’ll do this today. It’s fitting that we do so this week, having just marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks that took our nation to war. Because in Sergeant Dakota Meyer, we see the best of a generation that has served with distinction through a decade of war.

    Let me tell the story. I want you to imagine it’s September 8, 2009, just before dawn. A patrol of Afghan forces and their American trainers is on foot, making their way up a narrow valley, heading into a village to meet with elders. And suddenly, all over the village, the lights go out. And that’s when it happens. About a mile away, Dakota, who was then a corporal, and Staff Sergeant Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, could hear the ambush over the radio. It was as if the whole valley was exploding. Taliban fighters were unleashing a firestorm from the hills, from the stone houses, even from the local school.

    And soon, the patrol was pinned down, taking ferocious fire from three sides. Men were being wounded and killed, and four Americans — Dakota’s friends — were surrounded. Four times, Dakota and Juan asked permission to go in; four times they were denied. It was, they were told, too dangerous. But one of the teachers in his high school once said, “When you tell Dakota he can’t do something, he’s is going to do it.” (Laughter.) And as Dakota said of his trapped teammates, “Those were my brothers, and I couldn’t just sit back and watch.”

    The story of what Dakota did next will be told for generations. He told Juan they were going in. Juan jumped into a Humvee and took the wheel; Dakota climbed into the turret and manned the gun. They were defying orders, but they were doing what they thought was right. So they drove straight into a killing zone, Dakota’s upper body and head exposed to a blizzard of fire from AK-47s and machine guns, from mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

    Coming upon wounded Afghan soldiers, Dakota jumped out and loaded each of the wounded into the Humvee, each time exposing himself to all that enemy fire. They turned around and drove those wounded back to safety. Those who were there called it the most intense combat they’d ever seen. Dakota and Juan would have been forgiven for not going back in. But as Dakota says, you don’t leave anyone behind.

    For a second time, they went back — back into the inferno; Juan at the wheel, swerving to avoid the explosions all around them; Dakota up in the turret — when one gun jammed, grabbing another, going through gun after gun. Again they came across wounded Afghans. Again Dakota jumped out, loaded them up and brought them back to safety.

    For a third time, they went back — insurgents running right up to the Humvee, Dakota fighting them off. Up ahead, a group of Americans, some wounded, were desperately trying to escape the bullets raining down. Juan wedged the Humvee right into the line of fire, using the vehicle as a shield. With Dakota on the guns, they helped those Americans back to safety as well.

    For a fourth time, they went back. Dakota was now wounded in the arm. Their vehicle was riddled with bullets and shrapnel. Dakota later confessed, “I didn’t think I was going to die. I knew I was.” But still they pushed on, finding the wounded, delivering them to safety.

    And then, for a fifth time, they went back — into the fury of that village, under fire that seemed to come from every window, every doorway, every alley. And when they finally got to those trapped Americans, Dakota jumped out. And he ran toward them. Drawing all those enemy guns on himself. Bullets kicking up the dirt all around him. He kept going until he came upon those four Americans, laying where they fell, together as one team.

    Dakota and the others who had joined him knelt down, picked up their comrades and — through all those bullets, all the smoke, all the chaos — carried them out, one by one. Because, as Dakota says, “That’s what you do for a brother.”

    Dakota says he’ll accept this medal in their name. So today, we remember the husband who loved the outdoors —Lieutenant Michael Johnson. The husband and father they called “Gunny J” — Gunnery Sergeant Edwin Johnson. The determined Marine who fought to get on that team — Staff Sergeant Aaron Kenefick. The medic who gave his life tending to his teammates — Hospitalman Third Class James Layton. And a soldier wounded in that battle who never recovered — Sergeant First Class Kenneth Westbrook.

    Dakota, I know that you’ve grappled with the grief of that day; that you’ve said your efforts were somehow a “failure” because your teammates didn’t come home. But as your Commander-in-Chief, and on behalf of everyone here today and all Americans, I want you to know it’s quite the opposite. You did your duty, above and beyond, and you kept the faith with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps that you love.

    Because of your Honor, 36 men are alive today. Because of your Courage, four fallen American heroes came home, and — in the words of James Layton’s mom — they could lay their sons to rest with dignity. Because of your Commitment — in the thick of the fight, hour after hour — a former Marine who read about your story said that you showed how “in the most desperate, final hours…our brothers and God will not forsake us.” And because of your humble example, our kids — especially back in Columbia, Kentucky, in small towns all across America — they’ll know that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can do great things as a citizen and as a member of the American family.

    Therein lies the greatest lesson of that day in the valley, and the truth that our men and women in uniform live out every day. “I was part of something bigger,” Dakota has said, part of a team “that worked together, lifting each other up and working toward a common goal. Every member of our team was as important as the other.” So in keeping with Dakota’s wishes for this day, I want to conclude by asking now-Gunnery Sergeant Rodriguez-Chavez and all those who served with Dakota — the Marines, Army, Navy — to stand and accept thanks of a grateful nation. (Applause.)

    Every member of our team is as important as the other. That’s a lesson that we all have to remember — as citizens, and as a nation — as we meet the tests of our time, here at home and around the world.

    To our Marines, to all our men and women in uniform, to our fellow Americans, let us always be faithful. And as we prepare for the reading of the citation, let me say, God bless you, Dakota. God bless our Marines and all who serve. And God bless the United States of America. Semper Fi. (Applause.)

    MILITARY AIDE: 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 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, machine guns from four to five 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 the 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 six-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy’s attack and inspired the members of the command force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades, in the face of almost certain death, reflect a great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

    (The Medal is presented.) (Applause.)

    CHAPLAIN KIBBEN: Let us close in prayer: God, may this ceremony serve as a reminder of the responsibility that comes with receiving the grace gift of freedom. And as we depart this hallowed hall and return to our daily lives, we pray that you would ennoble and enable us, that when called up we would recall the resolute fearlessness of Sergeant Dakota Meyer and all those who wear the stars of valor, and live up to our responsibilities to bring honor to You and to this country.

    It is in Your Holy name we pray. Amen.

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for joining us here today. We are grateful for Dakota. We are grateful for all our men and women in uniform. And I hope that all of you have not only been inspired by this ceremony, but also will enjoy the hospitality of the White House. I hear the food is pretty good. (Laughter.)

    Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.)

  4. ¿Sabes cuál es una de las cosas que me ha llamado la atención?

    Que Dakota era sólo un Cabo de Infantería de Marina cuando se ganó la Medalla de Honor gracias a sus acciones heroicas. Resulta tremendamente admirable que para la concesión de tal condecoración no se tenga en cuenta el rango del candidato sino únicamente los hechos. Creo que no se actúa de la misma forma en todas partes.

    Me habría gustado proporcionar la transcripción en español de los discursos pero eso supera mi capacidad. De todas formas, lo que dicen tampoco tienen mayor relevancia, no hacen más que reconocer el mérito de Dakota, lo cual tiene que ser todo un orgullo.

  5. jose ignacio dijo:

    Una historia maravillosa de arrojo, valor, abnegación, dedicación, sacrificio …
    Una historia con final feliz que en pocos casos ocurre así.
    Entiendo que estén orgullosos de un compañero así,yo también lo estaría (y lo estoy).
    Sólo que si el discurso del Presidente y del General estuvieran traducidos estaría más completo.
    Muy buen trabajo.