DAKOTA MEYER / DRIVER
Dakota Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the first living United States Marine in 41 years to be so honored. Born and raised in Columbia,Kentucky, Dakota enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2006 after graduating from Green County High School. He completed his basic training at Parris Island Recruit Training Depot later that year. A school-trained sniper and highly skilled Marine infantryman, Dakota deployed twice to combat duty. In 2007, he deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom; and in 2009-10, he deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. In September 2011, President Obama awarded Dakota the Medal of Honor — the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government — in recognition of his acts of extraordinary valor on Sept. 8, 2009. Over the course of a six-hour firefight, without regard for his own personal safety, Dakota repeatedly braved enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan to find and save fellow members of his embedded training team. Wounded by shrapnel, Dakota entered the kill zone four times to evacuate approx. 13 Marines and soldiers and approx. 23 Afghan soldiers. On his fifth trip in, Dakota recovered the bodies of three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman killed in the battle: 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, Hospital Corpsman Third Class James R. Layton and Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Wayne Johnson Jr. Following the battle. Dakota completed his active duty in 2010 and now serves in the Individual Ready Reserve of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Since returning to civilian life, Dakota has started Dakota Meyer Enterprises Inc.in hope of establishing a company that not only leaves a mark in the construction industry but also provides a workplace for his fellow veterans.