Medal of Honor recipient recalls deadly ambush
Medal of Honor recipient recalls deadly ambush Medal of Honor recipient recalls deadly ambushTonight, CBS News correspondent, David Martin, on assignment for 60 minutes. I have never seen the like. That’S what a helicopter apology would watch the twenty-one-year-old Marine Stave off a Taliban Amboy. It’S overrun. His unit told us. The Marine was Dakota Meyer, Kentucky farm boy who, just this past Thursday, receive the nation’s highest Military Award, the Medal of Honor from President Obama at the White House mission in the ganjgal valley of Afghanistan, where he repeatedly ran a gauntlet of enemy fire in a desperate Effort to save his fellow Marines to go tomorrow will tell that story tonight, but there is much more to it than he’s almost insane Brave. This was an operation which went terribly wrong so long. The two army officers were issued career-ending letters of reprimand. It’S a story as old as combat when the Warriors leaders let him down, he has nothing to fall back on, but his own courage, Dakota Meyer, will tell you he was just doing his job, but when you see and hear what he did you two may say. I have never seen the like will continue in a moment on this Farm in Greensburg Kentucky, but it wasn’t Egypt in earned in the Medal of Honor. It was his astonishing courage. Did you think you were going to die? I didn’t think I knew it was. You knew you were territory in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan, Gauntlet of fire not once but five times with insurgents shooting down on him from three sides, so I go in there. There’S us getting shot at knows your brothers. Four Marines were trapped in the village of ganjgal after a patrol of 9 Americans, both Marines and army soldiers and 45 Afghan military was ambushed afterwards. The Army Center for has learned, produced this animated Recreation of what happened. The patrol said out for what was supposed to be a friendly meeting with Village Elders, Rocky drain force them to get out of their armored vehicles and move in on foot walking up towards the village. What happens when daylight? They open fire on them that the enemy starts starts with raining down. They had mortars, Rockets, rocket, propelled, grenades and a small arms fire. They were waiting for you. They were. This was an ambush. I was we were set up: 50 enemy Fighters, don’t get on The High Ground, above them, green call for artillery fire from a nearby Bape, the first-round Smith, the 1st Lieutenant Michael Johnson, one of the four Marines trapped inside the village, radio Newport. So the enemy positions in the operations center back at the base refused to fire. They denied it. The Army deny didn’t and told him it was. It was too close to the village, and he said too close to the Village, and the last words I heard him say was: if you don’t give me these rounds right now, I’m going to die to get the artillery fire. No, I didn’t the responses. Basically try. Your best duck it after the battle determined that two army officers making those decisions in the Operation Center that day works clearly negligent the actions of key leaders in the command center. The report said we’re inadequate and ineffective, contributing Direct to the loss of life witch in suit because of what the report cause poor performance in an atmosphere of complacency. The Operation Center just did not realize how bad the situation was until it was too late. You can’t sugarcoat it now retired Colonel Richard hooker conducted that investigation. The two principal officers that were named in the investigation of failed to discharge their duties in a responsible way in a way that the Army and the country has a right to expect to behave among the findings to Kiowa helicopters, armed with rockets and machine guns. But never made it into the bath, they were on another mission, but they were, they were closing in far away in July.. I would estimate five to ten minutes flight time. I didn’t know that they were told the helicopters would be there in 15 minutes up to this point. It’S been 15 minutes and no air support. Yet so they request it again and they said 15 more minutes. So 15 15 now you’re at 30 minutes on here. At 30 minutes – and you know I’m here in the radio traffic and in and now it’s starting to get worse., I believe it was coming across the radio and said I can’t shoot back. What is a man down there shooting at me from the house? It’S so close in kenefick was one of the four trap Marines and we started seeing well they’re, not getting what they need, and I will take advantage of this opportunity. One of the youngest lowest-ranking Marines on the battlefield took charge. We had to do something, then we requested to bring a truck in we’re told now. You know what all your guys are in there getting lit up and you want to be in there helping them, and we may wait about 5 minutes. Maybe we requested again or told no, so we requested again about two minutes later and we were told no again so I looked at that time to read Chavez and I said we’re going in open, armored truck for the village. Well, my arm and the gun turn it felt like the whole valley turned on this truck. You were, it is like you wear it like. Here comes a big Target. The other enemy was just there just right at you, you like the truck. So this is not just raining fire down now they’re trying to swarm the truck it’s just like a killing fast for on my thing, when you were doing the rounds were hitting the turret cat moving back left and right left and right, there was so much fire Sound like static over top of your head, I was waiting for one of those rounds to hit me in the face up. Close is the enemy getting to you. 1520 close been part of the patrol they scattered along the valley. I would run and try to assist as many Afghans I could you get out of the truck I’m out of the truck on foot so you’re out in the open, in the killings of I am the dead and wounded out of the valley and come back to Run the gauntlet of fire again and again still trying to get to the four Marines trapped in the village to get them out alive or you die trying you didn’t die. Trying didn’t try hard enough. When the Marines radios fell silent, Army, Captain will Swenson who was pinned down just outside the village, took up the call for fire. Captain Swenson probably made nine or 10 different calls for fire before he probably gave up in frustration. Cuz he say, look I’m not kidding. I really need this fire yeah that the evidence says he and it calls for help. No question., Then how long after the the battle begins to the first helicopters show up. It was so probably an hour and 45 minutes before the first helicopters. Helicopters were finally over head is Dakota Meyer tried to blast his way through the valley to the stranded Marines? We interviewed a number of pilots who were there that day and several of them stopped in unable unable to finish their description of Myers action said they was. They just didn’t have the word to describe when the helicopter showed up to that, put it into the Ambush. Now it didn’t solve the problem. It certainly was a great help to the soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan were fighting on the ground, enable them to move about. The battlefield a little better for Bio, who would also receive the Navy cross machine gun Swanson admire drove deeper into the valley to this Valley and round they’re going everywhere through it they’re going through both windows that you could hear him coming with and through. I only got here finally spot of the four Marines, but there was too much gunfire to land and they couldn’t know that they were going to get shot down. So I just took off running and I’ve tried longest running my life. I saw. I couldn’t move fast enough because it’s wide-open rounds are hidden everywhere around me. I jumped into this trench, and when I did, I landed on Gunnery Sergeant Johnson and he was he was dead, can corpsman James. Clayton? It was now 6 hours into the battle. That would also take the lies of 8 Afghan soldiers. If we’ve gotten supporting Aviation on station early in the fight, we wouldn’t be sitting here. Having this conversation, that’s my firm belief. Would those Americans be alive today now you can’t say with any certainty, but the chances are in my opinion. Yes, they would have been so you’ve just spent the last six hours risking, which is the rightward your life, throwing away your life, try to get to those guys failure. You know that you couldn’t get to them in time. You realize that what you did was extraordinary. No, I don’t they retrieve my son’s body and received a copy of hookers investigation, known in military parlance as a 15-6 read 15-6 for the very first time. It actually put me in the hospital for a week, money campaign to draw attention to what happened at ganjgal. Huge part of our hearts to this mission that was clearly Sergeant, Kenneth Westbrook died at Walter. Reed hospital would live long enough to tell his wife what happened. He told me that we were surrounded, we were ambushed and we call or help no one came. They kept telling us 15 minutes 15 minutes and no one showed, and we were just sitting duck. Letters of reprimand were issued to the captain, who was in charge of the watch in the Operation Center and to the major who was absent from the center at critical points. The Army has not released their names. How do you list play it? A piece of paper? A reprimand for human life, these letters of reprimand are just clearly slapped on the wrist. These officers need to be court-martialed. Investigation which results in a general officer letter of reprimand and injured career for most professional officers is about the most profound kind of thing that can happen to you. It means professional disgrace and ruin Susan price in Charlene Westbrook we’re not at the White House on Thursday to see the president award Dakota Meyer. The Medal of Honor will Swenson who quit the Army was. He too was recommended for the Medal of Honor enough negligence to tarnish this battle. The paperwork got lost and had to be started all over again. As for guns go, it still belongs to the Taliban. It’S been two years since operation still not safe to go into God’s, go for all that loss of life for all your courage. What was game? Nothing, nothing, but we still did our job. We still fighting go to 60 Minutes overtime.com to learn why two Medal of Honor recipients refused to call themselves American Heroes sponsored by Pfizer After several requests for help from his ambushed unit were denied, Dakota Meyer took matters into his own hands, to try and save his trapped comrades in Afghanistan. His efforts earned him the Medal of Honor. David Martin reports.