Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has publicly endorsed Ted Cruz for President. Although Meyer fell into some controversy when it was revealed he was Bristol Palin’s baby daddy, the former U.S. Marines corporal was the first still-alive U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Meyer is also the third recipient of the U.S. military’s highest honor since the Vietnam War.
The Cruz campaign made the announcement of the endorsement on Tuesday. In a statement, Meyer said the 2016 election is a “turning point for our country” and claimed Cruz was best suited to lead from the White House.
“I am confident that Ted Cruz has the ability and resolve to be Commander-in-Chief. His record of standing up and fighting for what he believes in shows that he is not someone who buckles under pressure. Ted is ready to led this country – and I look forward to help uniting conservatives and veterans behind this campaign,” wrote Meyer in the statement according to the Independent Journal. “We need a Commander-in-Chief who works with our allies and makes it known that certain actions against the United States and its allies will not be tolerated.”
In expressing his gratitude for Dakota Meyer’s endorsement, Ted Cruz claimed that “Obama’s foreign policy has put America and it’s national security interest in jeopardy.” But Cruz also said he was “honored to have Dakota’s support” and described Meyer as “a man of great courage and principle” who “served our country dutifully and honorably.”
.@Dakota_Meyer on the SC campaign trail: “He’s going to let our veterans as a priority…I believe in Senator Cruz.” pic.twitter.com/8oLYtaut10
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) February 16, 2016
Way before the gossip and scandal surrounding Bristol Palin, Dakota Meyer became famous his heroic actions in Afghanistan on September 8, 2009 when he saved 36 men under heavy Taliban fire. Two years later, he received the Medal of Honor and also met with President Barack Obama.
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The Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House occurred on September 15, 2011, and President Obama related the story of how Meyer received the Medal of Honor.
“A patrol of Afghan forces and their American trainers is on foot, making their way up a narrow valley, heading into a village to meet with elders. And suddenly, all over the village, the lights go out. And that’s when it happens,” Obama explained. “About a mile away, Dakota… could hear the ambush over the radio. It was as if the whole valley was exploding. Taliban fighters were unleashing a firestorm from the hills, from the stone houses, even from the local school.”
The American patrol was pinned down by enemy fire from three sides. Dakota asked permission to go to the rescue with Staff Sergeant Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, but they were denied four times. Eventually, Dakota said, “Those were my brothers, and I couldn’t just sit back and watch.”
The two men defied orders by taking a Humvee to rescue the American soldiers. Juan drove while Dakota manned a turret gun.
“So they drove straight into a killing zone, Dakota’s upper body and head exposed to a blizzard of fire from AK-47s and machine guns, from mortars and rocket-propelled grenades,” Obama said. “Coming upon wounded Afghan soldiers, Dakota jumped out and loaded each of the wounded into the Humvee, each time exposing himself to all that enemy fire.”
Five times the Humvee drove into the kill zone with Dakota manning the turret. The vehicle was riddled with bullets and shrapnel and Dakota was wounded in the arm. Dakota later confessed, “I didn’t think I was going to die. I knew I was.” Regardless of this belief, Meyer kept going, eventually rescuing the American soldiers pinned by Taliban fire.
“And he ran toward them. Drawing all those enemy guns on himself. Bullets kicking up the dirt all around him. He kept going until he came upon those four Americans, laying where they fell, together as one team,” Obama said.
Even when receiving the Medal of Honor, Dakota Meyer was humble. He said he would receive the medal in honor of the men who did not make it out alive. As Dakota says, “That’s what you do for a brother.”
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]