WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marines appear to have exaggerated the details of a firefight that earned Dakota Meyer a Medal of Honor, McClatchy Newspapers report.
While Meyer clearly behaved with "conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life" during a fight with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, witnesses, including Meyer, suggest parts of the story released by the Marines and given new publicity when Meyer received his medal from President Obama are not true or cannot be verified, McClatchy said. There was, for example, no proof Meyer killed eight insurgents, and the driver of his vehicle said he saw only one body.
Members of Congress have been pressing for more Medals of Honor. Only 10 have been awarded for actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, seven of them posthumously, and Meyer was the first Marine, and third person overall, to receive the medal while still alive since Vietnam.
Meyer, 23, a native Kentuckian, received the medal at a White House ceremony Sept. 15.
There have been other instances where stories of heroism that later proved to be exaggerated or false have been given out since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The most notorious was football player Pat Tillman's friendly fire death in what was originally described as an enemy ambush.