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President Obama on Thursday will bestow the Medal of Honor on former U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer, who saved 36 lives from an ambush by insurgents in Afghanistan.
On September 8, 2009, Meyer drove through heavy insurgent gunfire five times in a Humvee to save 13 Marines and Army soldiers and another 23 Afghan troops stranded by enemy fire, CBS News says. He killed at least eight insurgents despite suffering a shrapnel wound to his arm while manning the Humvee's gun turret to provide cover for the soldiers.
With him was Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, who received the Navy Cross, which is the second-highest award for valor.
President Barack Obama will bestow the Medal of Honor — the nation's highest military award for valor -— on Meyer at 2:45 p.m. Thursday in a ceremony at the White House. The two met Wednesday, and had a beer on a patio outside the Oval Office.
"Over the weekend, the President's staff called Meyer in preparation for Thursday's Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House. Meyer asked the staffer if he could have a beer with the President. POTUS invited Dakota to come by the White House this afternoon," spokesman Jay Carney wrote on Twitter.
Meyer told the CBS Early Show that he asked the president for advice on how to be successful. "He said, 'You know, first thing, get an education' and he said 'just take it slow and don't try to make any rash decisions,' " Meyer told CBS.
Meyer said the Afghanistan battle was the worst day of his life, CBS News says. He has requested that his slain comrades by memorialized in ceremonies in their hometowns.
Kentucky-born Meyer is the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, NPR says.