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Thank you -- when -- Good afternoon everyone.
And on behalf of Michelle myself -- White House.
It's been served that where there is very brave man.
In the -- Of the fight.
There is the polls tomorrow.
Today we pay tribute to American who placed himself in the thick of the fight.
And again and again.
In so doing He has earned our nation's highest military decoration.
The -- about.
-- and we are extraordinarily proud.
Sergeant Dakota -- Today is only the third time during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that a recipient of the medal bomber has been able to accept it in person.
And we are honored to be joined by one of the other two recipients sergeant first class LeRoy Petrie.
I would point out something else all the medal of honor recipients in recent decades.
Dakota is also one of the -- us.
He's 43 years old.
And He performed the extraordinary actions for which is being recognized today when He was just 21 years old.
Despite all this I have to say it Dakota is one of the most down to earth -- -- you'll ever meet.
In fact -- my staff first try to arrange phone calls -- Couldn't tell but -- approve this metal Dakota was a work as new civilian job on a construction site.
He felt they couldn't take the call right then because He said -- I don't -- I don't dictate.
So we arrange to make sure you got the call during his lunch break.
I told him to lose many went right back to work.
That's the kind of guy He is He also asked to have a beer with.
We're able to execute yesterday.
Dakotas got a guy who gets the job done.
And I -- -- -- you take Michael.
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 -- Mitch McConnell.
We are joined here by leaders from crossed my administration including secretary of veterans affairs -- should second and maybe secretary ray Mavis.
And leaders from across our -- forces including the commandant of the Marine Corps general James Amos.
We're honored to welcome to -- father Mike.
-- here his extraordinary grandparents.
And more than -- 120 of -- family and friends many from his home state of Kentucky.
I want to welcome -- comrades from the marine embedded training team to eight.
And we are humbled by the presence.
The members of the -- mom's side.
-- -- I -- past three years have not been easy for you retelling the story of that day and standing here today your very.
Modest young man.
But as you 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 back.
That's how we'll do this today.
It's fitting that we do so this week having just marked the tenth anniversary of the attacks that took our nation to war.
Because -- sergeant -- -- we see the best of -- generation that has served with distinction through a decade of war.
Let me tell the story I want to imagine it's September 82009.
Just before -- Patrol.
Afghan forces and their American trainers is on for.
Making their way up -- narrow valley heading into a village to meet -- elders and suddenly.
All of the village lights go out.
That's when it happens.
About a mile away Dakota who's been a corporal and staff sergeant Juan Rodriguez Chavez could hear the ambush over the radio.
It was as if the whole valley was explored.
-- month 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 -- Men were being wounded and killed.
And for Americans.
-- friends were surrounded.
Four times -- and want to ask permission to go and four times they were denied.
It was they were told to dangerous.
But one of the teachers in his high school once said when you tell -- He can do something.
He's going to do it.
And as Dakota -- of this trapped teammates.
Those were my Brothers and I couldn't just sit back and watch.
The story of what the -- did next will be told for generations He told wanna they were going him.
One jumped into a humvee and took the -- Dakota climbed into the Turk and man with the gun.
They were defying orders but they were doing what they thought was right.
So they drove straight into a killing zone.
Because upper body and -- exposed to a blizzard of fire from AK forty sevens and machine guns.
Mortars and rocket propelled grenades.
Coming upon wounded Afghan soldiers -- 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've ever -- To quote one would have been forgiven for not going back him but -- -- says you don't leave anybody behind.
For a second time they went back back into the inferno.
I want to wield swerving to avoid the explosions all around them the -- up in the -- When one got 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 -- 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 bullets raining down.
Wanna -- the -- right into the line of fire using the vehicles shield.
The Dakota on the guns they help those Americans back to safety as well.
For a fourth -- they went back Dakota was now wounded in the -- -- vehicle was riddled with bullets and shrapnel.
Dakota later confessed I didn't think I was going I knew I once.
But still they pushed off 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 seem to come from every window every doorway every -- And when they finally got to those trapped Americans.
Dakota jumped out and He ran toward.
-- all those enemy guns on himself bullets kicking up the dirt all around.
He kept going until we came almost four American -- where they fell.
Together as one team.
Dakota the others who had joined him meltdown.
Picked up their comrades and to all those bullets all the smoke all the chaos.
Carried them out one by one.
Because -- -- says that's what you do for a brought.
-- says -- accept this medal in their -- so today we remember the husband.
Who love the outdoors lieutenant Michael Johnson.
The husband and father they called garbage day gunnery sergeant Edwin Johnson.
The determined marine who fought to get on that team staff sergeant Aaron I can affect.
The medic who gave his life tending to his teammates hospital man third class James played.
And soldier wounded in that battle who never recover sergeant first class Kenneth Westbrook.
Because I know that -- grappled with debris from that day.
-- you've said that your efforts were somehow failure because your teammates didn't come home.
But as your commander in chief.
And on behalf of Iran here today and all Americans I want you know it's quite the opposite.
You did your duty above and beyond.
And you kept faith with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps that you -- Because of your honor 36 men are alive today.
Because of your perch.
For -- American heroes came home.
And in the words of Jane Lane's mom they could -- their sons to rest -- dignity.
Because of your commitment.
In the thick of the fight hour after hour.
The former marine who read about your story -- 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 the small towns all across America.
-- know that no matter who we are where you come from you can do great things as a citizen and as a member of the American family.
Therein lies the greatest -- a bad day in the -- -- the truth that our men and women in uniform.
Live out every day.
I was part of something bigger Dakota said.
Part of -- team that worked together lifting each other up and working toward a common goal.
Every member of our team was as important as the up.
So in keeping with the -- wishes for this day I want to conclude by asking.
Now gunnery sergeant Rodriguez Chavez and all those who served -- -- the Marines army navy.
To stand and except.
-- of a grateful nation.
Every member of our team is as important as reality.
That's a lesson that we all have to remember the citizens and as a nation as we meet the -- 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 simplified.
The president of the United States in the name of the congress.
Takes pleasure in presenting the medal of honor to corporal Dakota on -- United States Marine Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry -- intrepid -- that the risk of his life above and beyond the call didn't.
-- serving with -- embedded training team to -- regional court advisory command 37.
And -- province Afghanistan on -- September 2009.
Corporal -- maintain security -- -- patrol -- point while other members of -- team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and border police.
Into the village of gone to golf for a predawn meeting with -- village elders.
Moving into the village the patrol was ambushed by more than fifty enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades mortars.
From fortified positions on the slopes above.
-- over the radio that four US team members were cut off corporate -- seize the initiative.
With a fellow marine driving corporal Meyer took.
-- the exposed -- position in a gun truck as they drove.
Down the steeply terrorist training.
In a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped US team.
This regarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle corporal Meier killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle.
Summit near point blank range as 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 and became inoperable he's directed the return for the -- point to switch and other gun truck for a third trip into the -- area.
Where is actor -- fired directly supported the remaining US personnel.
An Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush.
Despite -- shrapnel wound to his arm corporal Meyer made two more trips and in the ambush area in -- third gun truck.
Accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles -- -- more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing US team members.
Still under heavy enemy fire He dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and move on foot to locate recover the bodies of this team members.
-- Myers daring initiative and bull fighting spirit throughout the six hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy's attack and inspire the members of the command.
Forced to fight on.
His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his US and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death.
Reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions.
Of the Marine Corps in the united states naval service.
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