Medal of Honor Recipient Declines FDNY Deadline Extension

Sep 27, 2011 11:33am

Dakota Meyer, the first living marine to receive a Medal of Honor, wants to be a New York City firefighter. The only problem is that he missed the deadline.

Meyer missed the Sept. 19 deadline because of activities surrounding his Medal of Honor win, his attorney said. The next time he can apply is in four years, attorney Keith Sullivan said.

 

Sullivan filed an application Saturday for the city to extend the application period for a short window so that Meyer could apply.  A federal judge refused the idea of opening the window to all and instead said Monday that only Meyer’s application would be accepted. That didn’t sit well with the former marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama on Sept. 15.

“My client is not willing to submit an application where he’s the only one getting that benefit. He doesn’t feel he warrants extraordinary treatment,” said Sullivan.  “We would not be amenable to a one person exception at this time, he is declining the offer as he feels it would compromise his values and principles.”

While Meyer might not feel he deserves extraordinary treatment, his courage while serving in Afghanistan was extraordinary.

He still insists he’s not a hero for rescuing 36 American and Afghan troops during a mission in eastern Afghanistan in Sept. 2009.  Positioned in a rear position when an ambush began, Meyer and other members of his unit disobeyed orders to remain in place and used a Humvee to rush into the kill zone to try and rescue four American trainers trapped at the head of their column. Fighting through a piece of shrapnel that had injured his arm, Meyer later reached the four only to find that they had died in the fighting.

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Ray Tamarra/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In an interview with ABC’s Bob Woodruff , Meyer said that he was only doing “what marines do…I’m the furthest thing from a hero.”

Meyer wears bracelets with the names of the four Americans killed in Ganjgal that day and feels some guilt that he survived the battle.  “I guess what’s stuck in my mind is you either get guys out alive or you die trying, if you didn’t die trying, you didn’t try hard enough.”

The 23-year-old Kentucky native revealed his dreams of being a New York City firefighter to the New York Post  over the weekend after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a New York Mets game. He told the paper, “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a way I feel I can do my part in giving back to America.”

For now, his attorney still hopes that city officials can come up with a way to reopen the application window for all so that Meyer can become a firefighter.

“I have already asked the city to go back to the drawing board,” Sullivan said. “The city’s burden pales in comparison to the burdens and compromises Sgt. Meyer has made for this county. We as a city and country deserve to put in the effort to make this dream possible and he shouldn’t have to wait four years.”

ABC News’ Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

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