I'm no fan of Chelsea Manning and her fake patriotism.
Yet, as Manning is now running for a U.S. Senate seat to represent Maryland, I thought it might be good to get the perspective of a true American hero, retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer. In 2011, Meyer was awarded the nation's highest military decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty." He was serving in Afghanistan's Kunar province when, as his citation notes, he made five trips in and out of heavy enemy fire in order to rescue comrades and Afghan allies who had come under ambush, killing a number of the ambushers in the process:
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, and machine guns from houses and fortified 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 a 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 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy’s attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Anyway, here's my interview with Meyer.
1) What is patriotism?
For someone to be willing to put their country before their own personal aspirations and beliefs. For someone to serve the ideals of freedom and our nation.
2) What do you think about Chelsea Manning's decision to run for the U.S. Senate?
I think it's a joke. I don't think it's true. I mean, who cares about the transgender stuff? That's not the issue here. I have a lot of respect for Chief Beck [a former Navy SEAL senior chief petty officer who came out as a transgender woman in 2013]. What matters is – and there's no question about this – that our system gave Manning a fair trial, and she was found guilty. How does this make sense? Didn't she already have a chance to serve the nation? She did, and she failed miserably. All she is about is serving herself, but her track record should make her fit in as a politician.
3) What do you think of Manning's first campaign video?
I almost died laughing. It looked like something my two-year-old would put together. That said, it was a direct representation of the brand of Chelsea Manning: all about her.
4) Manning gave U.S. diplomatic and military intelligence to a Russian intelligence cutout. Your Medal of Honor citation notes that you stormed a stronghold five separate times under withering enemy fire in order to rescue your comrades. Who do you believe most Americans would rather have a beer with?
Probably Manning, she has a way more interesting story! [Meyer laughs]
5) Assuming your wife gave you permission, how much would you have to be paid to go on a date with Manning?
Let me ask my wife. [Meyer laughs]
6) What do you think about President Obama's decision to pardon Manning?
I think it was a bullshit move. Also, how can Democrats say Trump is in with the Russians, and now they're supporting Manning, who gave military intelligence to Russia!?
7) Do you believe Manning or most Americans have ever heard of 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, Corpsman James Layton, and Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook?
No, I don't, and that's the problem. Chelsea Manning has a platform to serve herself, but many veterans don't even get medical treatment when they need it.
[The interview ends here.]
It was a great honor and a lot of fun to interview Meyer. Aside from what he has done for the nation, Meyer is amusing, well-spoken, and full of humility. And about the individuals mentioned in question seven: These Americans were killed in action during the battle for which Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor. Here's a little bit about them.
1st Lt. Michael Johnson and his wife, Durinda, were "married in an outdoor ceremony in 2007. They moved to Okinawa when he was stationed there, setting up a home and adopting a couple of pets."
Gunnery Sgt. Edwin W. Johnson "loved his life of discipline, though he was quite mischievous as a child. His cousin, Theopolis Ramsey, recalled a time the two were trying to get rid of ants they found in the house with broom straw they would set on fire. They ended up setting a bed on fire."
Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Kenefick was a two-time Marine of the year. One Thanksgiving, he "asked his mom what time dinner would be served. He wanted to make sure he’d have time to visit patients at the Veterans Administration hospital."
Corpsman James Layton revelled in Japanese culture and planned "to get an education in health care, see the world during eight years of military service, then become a radiology technician."
Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook "lived with his wife and three sons in Fountain, Colorado, and his family says he planned to retire from the service in November after a 22-year career."