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Former Marine in line for the Medal of Honor

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A former Hawaii Marine may be on his way to becoming just the second living service member since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor.

Dakota Meyer ran through intense gunfire in a three-sided ambush in Afghanistan in 2009 in an attempt to rescue three fellow Marines and a Navy corpsman who were pinned down, according to reports.

He had been wounded by shrapnel in the elbow on two previous attempts to rescue the Americans using an armored vehicle that was repelled both times by bullets and rocket-propelled grenades.

Just before he retired, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway recommended Meyer for the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, CNN reported.

Marine Corps Times said new Commandant Gen. Jim Amos confirmed the recommendation without mentioning Meyer by name.

"We have a nomination that Gen. Conway signed and forwarded to the secretary of the Navy his last week as the commandant," Amos was quoted by Marine Corps Times as saying. "I read the citation. I read the whole paper. … I read it cover to cover, and it watered my eyes."

Meyer, 22, who has since left the Marines and returned home to Kentucky, said he has no knowledge of the review that may be under way.

"I can’t even tell you if I’m up for a Medal of Honor. I don’t know," he said by phone. "I haven’t been told anything from the military. The media is telling me more about it than I’m hearing from anybody else."

Meyer said he considers himself "the farthest thing from a hero."

"Of course, it would be an honor" to receive the Medal of Honor, he said, "but it would be for my guys — it’s not for me."

Meyer’s father, Mike, also said the Marine Corps has not told the family anything.

"Unofficially, everyone says he’s up for it, but the Marine Corps has never acknowledged that and they won’t until he receives the Medal of Honor," he said.

The military as a matter of practice does not reveal pending nominations.

Meyer was assigned to Kaneohe Bay and the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, after joining the Corps. He had deployed to Iraq with the unit around 2007, his father said.

"Somebody asked him, would he be interested in going to Afghanistan?" Mike Meyer said. "I think he had 15 minutes to decide yea or nay. He knew that Iraq was winding down, and he jumped at the chance to go to Afghanistan."

Meyer was part of what is known as an "embedded training team" working with Afghan counterparts. On Sept. 8, 2009, 60 Afghan soldiers, 20 border police and 13 Marine and Army trainers were ambushed in Kunar province six miles from the Pakistani border, according to a McClatchy Newspapers reporter who was along.

Even though he was wounded in the elbow, Meyer sprinted into what had become a kill zone to help his friends, Marine Corps Times said.

He found the three Marines and a corpsman dead, but while still under fire, Meyer carried the bodies back to a Humvee with the aid of Afghan troops, the newspaper said.

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta became Tuesday the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since Vietnam for his actions in 2007 in Afghanistan.

Meyer could become the second.

"I’m very proud of what he did, extremely proud," his father said. "Words can’t express. Put it this way: He would have died for them guys."

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