Follow by Email

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Receiving the Medal of Honor last fall has created opportunities for me that I would have never imagined.  I've gotten to travel all over the country, I've met wonderful people and I've experienced an overwhelming feeling of love and support from every corner of our great nation.  Of all the new opportunities this Medal has offered me, one of my favorites is the opportunity I have to speak to groups across the country, sharing the story of my Medal of Honor; the story of my teammates.  When I give these talks, it's always my hope that I'll say something that will inspire someone in the audience.  In my speeches, I talk a lot about opportunity and accountability, so I wanted to take a moment today to share some of that message.

I've said many times that I accepted the Medal of Honor, not on my behalf, but on the behalf of my brothers who lost their lives, on behalf of all the men and women serving our country, and on behalf of those who gave all.  I believe that the only reason I am a Medal of Honor recipient is because I was given an opportunity.  On September 8, 2009, when everything that could have gone wrong in Ganjgal Valley, Afghanistan went wrong, I was given the opportunity to defy orders by doing what my family had raised me to do and what the Marine Corps had taught me to do; to leave no man behind.  I truly believe that any other man or woman in uniform, who would have found themselves in my position that day, would have done the same thing.  But it was me who was given that opportunity.

Now, I have an opportunity to make the most of the position I've found myself in, as a Medal of Honor recipient.  I have chosen to use the platform I've been given to try to make a difference in our world.  You see, everyday we are each faced with circumstances; sometimes favorable, often times not.  We can look at these circumstances as situations, or we can see them as opportunities.  I prefer opportunities because it has a much more positive connotation, and I encourage you to do the same.

What we do with the opportunities we are given defines us.  I didn't want to accept the Medal of Honor, when I first learned I would be receiving it.  Still, to this day, I struggle with my feelings of being a Medal of Honor recipient.  But I also realize that receiving the Medal of Honor gives me an opportunity, on a large scale, to bring recognition to our service members and to my brothers who gave their lives for each of us.  It's not always easy, but when I'm feeling tired and I'm losing my will to continue on, I look down at my wrists and I find my inspiration again.  I wear a band on each wrist with the engraved names of my heroes, my fallen brothers, and when I need a lift, I'm reminded that these guys don't have the opportunity to continue on and so I have to do that for them.

We are each provided chances to do something with our lives; to make a difference.  Sometimes it's hard, or even scary, to walk through that door of opportunity because there is no way of knowing where it may lead.  I had no idea that making the decision to enter the valley in Afghanistan would lead me to where I am today.  And I wish things had ended differently than they did.  But the fact is that I cannot control what happened back then, all I can do is move forward today. 

Traveling 25 days a month to speak to groups can be exhausting; even for a 23 year-old.  But I do it because I've been given this opportunity and every opportunity is a gift.  I'll leave you with the following quote and I hope you take it to heart.  I hope each of you take advantage of every opportunity you're given and make the most of your life.

"Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. 
They seem more afraid of life then death."
 ~James F. Byrnes

Semper Fi,


  1. Very well said! Sometimes we do forget to truly live and not just exist. Thank you for this post-it made me think and as always,you inspire me! Semper Fi!

  2. Hi there, I like your words. I am on the other side of the world to you, in terms of political and social identity. I am a Muslim, born in Pakistan, bred in Britain. Just to say, I wasn't too sure how I felt about the war but have decided that the murky politics leave a lot to be desired in terms of morality and justification- from all sides. However, on a human level, I agree with your very profound and inspiring words. It's heartening to know that universal truths can be found in all corners of the world.

  3. Thanks, Dakota - your selflessness and passion for life are an inspiration and do not go unnoticed. Praying for those defending our freedoms and for their families.


  4. so great words!!!I agree with you!!!
    take care of you all the time...keep up!!!
    If you want to know more news about me...come to! is your best friend,WOW Gold,Cheap RS Gold and Diablo 3 Gold is your best choice!

  5. Thanks for the information. I really enjoyed, I would like get more information about this,because is very beautiful, thanks for sharing Smoking Effects.

  6. runescape are grateful for its fans runescapegogo-com and supporters so runescape could achieve such a big successhttp:http://www-guildwarsize-com/Buy-Gold-Usd-html This success is also owe to the wonderful aion http://www-innicc-com/Runescape.aspx

  7. The good topic, i like it and tanks for you shared it.diablo 3 gold

  8. What is new for the Guild Wars 2 fans recently is the Lost Shores. What is the biggest challenge for you now must be the Karka, which is the updated monsters in the game. To protect the shores, you need to take it down. But you should never underrestimate it as it is really a strong enemy. You need strong gw2 weapons(you may need to buy some guild wars 2 gold in the store to exchange for some), you need good team members to fight with you. There will also be rich rewards for you there.

  9. Diablo 3 Barbarians Guide When you play with and base faithful when you can provide in addition to the roar resistance is to run non-stop to maintain their Saiyan.

  10. Thank you for sharing. It has already passed several days and we should let it go. I want to recommend you a reliable store selling wow gold with fast delivery speed. What's more, the code "sssss" will save you 5% of the total order.

  11. This article is fantastic. I really like studying your articles. rs accounts for sell Stay up the great work! Lots of persons are hunting around for this information, you could help them greatly.

  12. diablo 3 gold is the game's primary currency, and is used to purchase skills and weapons that are much needed to do battle with demons from the underworld.Which makes it even more imperative to buy diablo 3 gold with which to get the very best gear.Star Wars: the Old Republic (which uses the in-game currency swtor credits) is a groundbreaking sci-fi MMO based on the world-famous series Star swtor credits now at cheap prices from, the most trusted source for SWTOR credits in the entire galaxy.