Two years ago today – Sept. 8, 2009 – there was a fierce battle in a valley south of Ganigal Village, Kunar Province Afghanistan. A Marine Embedded Training Team and Afghan soldiers were ambushed and pinned down in a fire fight with Taliban insurgents. It lasted six hours.
Marine Sgt. (then Cpl.) Dakota Meyer will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions that day that saved the lives 13 Marines and 23 Afghan soldiers. He made several trips into the valley to retrieve wounded, help the troops break out and then went back for his missing and fallen teammates. And it is they who Meyer wants to honor.
One of the fallen was Gunnery Sgt. Aaron M. Kenefick, USMC whose mother Susan Price lives in Riverview. She is honoring the wishes of Meyer, that ceremonies be held honoring the five fallen warriors in their home communities at the same he is awarded the Medal of Honor from President Barak Obama.
- Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, 31
- Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, 30
- 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, 25
- Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton, 22.
- U.S. soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook, 41, died Oct. 7, 2009, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington from medical complications related to wounds sustained in the attack.
Sgt. Dakota Meyer is scheduled to receive the Medal of Honor a week from today – Thursday – Sept. 15 at noon.
Also at noon that day, a service will be held in Tampa at the corner of Bayshore Blvd. and Bay to Bay Blvd – also known as Patriots Corner. A chaplain will open the ceremony, some military representatives are set to speak, and the American Ideals Foundation Military Heroes Project will present a portrait and read a poem in tribute to GySgt. Kenefick.
Here is a portion of a letter written by Susan Price, Kenefick’s mom:
As you know that the death of my son, Fallen American Hero, Gunnery Sgt Aaron Michael Kenefick, USMC, is tied into the next Medal of Honor award to be presented to Dakota Meyer, USMC by President OBama on Thursday September 15th 2011, as Dakota rescued the fallen body’s of our heroes and allowed for us families to lay our loved ones at rest at home where they belong…. Per Dakota Meyer’s request, he is asking that we all gather together in honor and respect of our fallen in the in the communities in which our brave men last lived or are laid to rest, as Dakota receives his award he is doing so in the names of these 5 men, not for himself.
He has asked that the Patriot Guard Riders as well as the Media and Military Speakers come forth to participate in this first time in 41 years that a Marine receives such a high and outstanding military award on behalf of the brave men who lost their lives in the Ganjgal Ambush, Kunar Province Afghanistan, September 8th 2009.
Dakota wants the world to know that it is because of our fallen that he receives this medal for them not himself and wants communities to be fully aware of the Ganjgal valley tragedy!
You can read and view of Meyer’s first interviews about being named for the Medal of Honor with the Marine Corps Times.
In this second Marine Corps Times interview, Meyer describes his actions that day.
Filed under: Deployment, Marines, Military families, Navy, Non-Profit Organizations Tagged: | 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, American Ideals Foundation, Dakota Meyer, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, Medal of Honor, Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton, Patriot Guard Riders, postaday2011, Sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, Susan Price, United States Marine Corps