Medal of Honor recipient veteran Sgt. Dakota Meyer attended the Commandant’s Birthday Ball at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Md., as the guest of honor Nov. 9.
Veteran Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a purple-heart recipient, was also invited to attend the Commandant’s ball this year.
Meyer, a former scout sniper with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007 and Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in 2009. While in Afghanistan, he was attached to Embedded Training Team 2-8.
During the Battle of Ganjgal on Sept. 8, 2009, Meyer evacuated 12 friendly wounded and provided support for 24 Marines and soldiers, leading to him receiving the Medal of Honor Sept. 15, 2011.
Carpenter received a Purple Heart for his injuries while deployed in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He suffered severe injuries from a grenade blast while engaging the Taliban.
Prior to the ball, Meyer and Carpenter took time to speak with Marines in different units around the National Capital Region. Their intent was to motivate as many junior Marines as possible by sharing their stories.
“I want to go around and tell them (Marines) that we are the greatest fighting force in the world and even when it seems confusing, what we do makes sense,” Meyer said.
Meyer and Carpenter spoke to a graduating class of Marines with the Scout Sniper Unit Leaders Course in Quantico, Va. They wanted to drive home to the young officers and enlisted Marines how important a leadership position really is.
“Junior Marines are so moldable, and leadership decides where junior Marines’ careers can go,” Meyer said. “Your job isn’t to make sure they can be led, your job is to just lead them every single day.”
Later, Meyer and Carpenter ate lunch with enlisted Marines from Officer Candidate School at the Bobo Chow Hall in Quantico, Va. They both carried on casual conversations with the Marines, answered questions, and took photos with them.
After eating, Meyer and Carpenter headed to Marine Barracks Washington to speak.
Meyer passed his Medal of Honor around the room and explained that he wears the medal for all Marines; the only difference between them and him is he was put in a position where the opportunity arose.
“Hopefully I can go out there and say something that means something to these Marines,” Meyer said.
Meyer and Carpenter said they both feel it is crucial for them to speak, motivate, and share their stories with junior Marines.
“You can help people out, and that’s the best part of having the Medal,” Meyer said.
Although sometimes their schedules are hectic, both Marine veterans feel a responsibility to sacrifice as much as it takes to make a difference.
“I think it makes a tremendous impact, and even without an award, any veteran, any Marine, any wounded warrior should go out and speak,” Carpenter said.