Medal of Honor, Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who told a Ramboesque story of how he fought off the Taliban, in order to get the wounded out of harm's way, could have some major explaining to do, as an ongoing investigation by the McClatchy press group, has uncovered video tape and ancedotal evidence from soldiers on the scene. Meyer from Columbia, Kentucky, described the battle like this:
“My mind was completely blank. I fired so many thousands of rounds I didn’t think what I was doing.." That is the account he put into his 2012 book, “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War.”
Those facts are now highly questionable. In the video tape made by a helmet cam, shot by an Army Medivac helicopter crewman, shows that there were no Taliban located in the area as the helicopter landed. The crewman has confirmed that what you see in the video is what happened and he spotted no Taliban. Army National Guard Sgt. Kevin Duerst, whose camera took one of the videos said:
“We totally flew over everything. . . . There was nothing going on down there. There was no serious gunfight going on.”
Furthermore, Former Army Capt. William Swenson, who is to get a Medal of Honor from President Obama, today (Tuesday) said that the videos were accurate and made the following statement:
“Those videos allowed me to relive the reality of that battlefield: what I saw, what other people saw, where people were, the valley, the terraces, the trees, the friendlies. It shows the truth of that battle, a truth I never expected to see again.”
In a telephone interview with McClatchy, Meyer said, “I wrote my book to the best of my recollection of what happened. And if that’s not it, then that’s not it.”
After reviewing the video, Meyer claimed that the attack happened after the helicopter left, but in his book, he claimed that it happened before the helicopter landed. But the video isn't the only proof, that Meyer's account is falling apart.
The Army's story of how Swenson was nominated for the medal and Swenson's own accounts directly conflict with Meyer's narrative. Meyer claimed that he climbed into an unarmored truck with Swenson and killed an insurgent with a rock. It was Marine Capt. Ademola Fabayo, who rode in that truck with Swenson:
“Fabayo and I fought side by side for the entire battle. When Fabayo and I returned into that valley in that unarmored truck, he was shooting out of his passenger side window and I was on the radio, driving.”
It wasn't until that truck broke down and Swenson switched to an armored vehicle, that Meyer joined him.
The insurgents had been tipped off about the arrival of the troops and had set up an ambush. 5 Americans were killed as were 9 Afghan troops and one translator. 17 were wounded including Meyer and Swenson.
The helmet cam also showed something else that undermines Meyer's story. At the time, he was supposedly under attack, there were 5 Afghan soldiers walking about casually. They did not take cover or fire their guns in self defense. The helicopter crewman said the only ones firing were a half a mile from where Meyer was.
Perhaps Meyer did act valiantly in recovering the dead and the wounded, and perhaps he does deserve a medal for gallantry, but given all the now debunked narrative that he wrote about, it is more likely he embellished or even lied about his role.
Watch the video