Medal of Honor Winner Looking to Join FDNY
MANHATTAN — He rescued three dozen soldiers and killed at least eight members of the Taliban during a six-hour firefight in Afghanistan.
For his heroism, Sgt. Dakota Meyer, 23, became the first living Marine since the Vietnam War to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor the military can bestow.
Now this soldier, cited for his bravery, wants to become a member of New York's Bravest.
But Meyer's dream, which was stoked by a recent visit to the city, almost got cut short because he missed the FDNY's exam deadline of midnight on Sept. 19, as first reported by the New York Post.
"It’s a compliment of the highest honor that this Medal of Honor winner seeks to join us," FDNY Deputy Chief Paul Mannix, who heads up the advocacy group Merit Matters, told DNAinfo.com.
"We should be moving heaven and earth to give him an opportunity."
Mannix said that Meyer, of Columbia, Ky., was inspired to join the department in part by a pal in the Marines who was also a city firefighter.
"I’m sure that there are offers rolling in for him," Mannix said. "What did he want to do? He wants to be a New York City firefighter. That’s extraordinary."
Mannix said that Meyer got swept up in the frenzy that ensued after he was awarded the Medal of Honor on Sept. 15 and became aware of the deadline late.
When he came to New York last week, he looked ot apply for the exam, which is only administered every four years, but realized he had missed the deadline by hours.
Meyer's lawyer, Keith Sullivan, filed an electronic request Saturday requesting that Meyer be allowed to apply for the exam.
While the decision is now in a judge's hands, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which administers the exam, indicated that it would be open to an extension, according to The Post.
According to the military, Meyer's unit was ambushed by 50 enemy fighters in Ganjgal, Afghanistan in September 2009.
During the ensuing firefight, Meyer made five trips — including one one foot — to evacuate members of the Afghan National Army, his fellow American soldiers and recover the bodies of his fallen comrades.
He did this all while being wounded and taking on "heavy enemy fire."
Meyer was the fifth soldier in the Afghan war to be awarded the nation's highest military honor.
The FDNY and DCAS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DNAinfo.com.