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Dakota Meyer’s Into The Fire

Take a look inside the Medal of Honor recipient and Maxim military advisor’s new book, out today.

As the first living marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can probably imagine that Dakota Meyer has a hell of a story to tell about his experiences. Well, now you can see for yourself - his book, Into The Fire: A Firsthand Account Of the Most Extraordinary Battle In the Afghan War is out today. Check out the exclusive excerpt below.

Excerpt from INTO THE FIRE by Dakota Meyer & Bing West 
I felt a tap as something hit my left shoulder. It didn’t register at first. It was like I had been hit with a light stone. I glanced up to see a tough- looking Afghan with a long black beard glaring down at me. He was wearing a dirty gray man-dress, a flak jacket, and an Afghan Army helmet. He was pointing an AK at my head, gesturing for me to stand up. In broken English, he was telling me to drop my rifle.

“Come,” he said, waving the barrel of his AK in my face.

I couldn’t believe that I’d screwed up so badly. All I could think of was that my head would be sawed off and held up on TV.

No way. I’d die right where I was, right now. I had been dead for a few hours anyway. The borrowed time was up, that’s all.

My rifle was resting on my left thigh, pointing in his direction. The stubby grenade launcher was attached to the underside of the barrel.

I raised one arm like I was going to surrender and pulled the trigger of the launcher with my free thumb. The 40- millimeter grenade shot forward the two feet to his armored vest. It didn’t explode. Instead it knocked him back. Stunned and with the breath slammed out of him, he staggered back and fell on his side. For a few seconds, I thought the blow had killed him. No such luck.

As I pushed myself erect, he drew in a big breath and stirred. I kicked at his face, losing my balance and falling on top of him. We were both on the ground, wrestling. Afghan tribesmen have legs like steel from climbing mountains all day, all their lives, so I had to keep his legs off me. I pinned his elbows and blocked his reach for his AK. I was pushing my helmeted head into his chest so he couldn’t gouge my eyes. At any second, I figured, that grenade would explode and the both of us could stop worrying about any of this.

I pawed the ground with my right hand and found a rock the size of a baseball. I clutched it and swung blindly at his face. The blow stunned him. Before he could recover, I pushed off his chest, lifted the rock high in my right fist, and smashed it down like a hammer, breaking his front teeth. He looked me in the eyes, the fight knocked out of him, his head not moving. We both knew it was over. I drew back my arm and drove the stone down, crushing his left cheekbone. He went limp. I pushed up on my knees and hit him with more force. The blow caved in the left side of his forehead. I smashed his face again and again, driven by pure primal rage.

I turned back to Dodd Ali. I tried to pick up my friend, but he was stiff and I couldn’t get a firm grip. I fumbled with the tourniquets and when I couldn’t untie them, I cut them loose, pulled off the armor, and trudged back toward the truck, dragging Dodd Ali behind me.

When I came around the corner of the terrace, I was back into the fire. Once again I heard the bursts of PKM rounds cracking past. They sounded high, so I paid them no mind and continued pulling Dodd Ali. I was in a semi-trance, emotionally and physically drained. I shut out the world and concentrated on tugging the body. I’d bend over, get a good grip, and haul backward for a few meters. I’d then stand erect and stretch out my cramped muscles before bending over again. I’d got it into my mind that all I had to do was get Dodd Ali to the truck. That was the goal line. Finish the game.

I had developed a rhythm to my tugs, so it took a while before I realized that Swenson was yelling at me. I’d forgotten he had been sitting out there, the only target on the battlefield, shifting the truck back and forth, waiting for me.

“We gotta move, man!” he yelled. “Let’s get out of here.”

I was trying to pull Dodd Ali into the back of the Ranger, but I didn’t have the strength. I was beat. I leaned against the pickup. Swenson hopped out, picked up Dodd Ali, and rolled his stiff body into the open back. He pushed me into the passenger seat and slid back behind the wheel. He paused for a second, looking at my sagging, sweat-running face.

The Ford Ranger was a shiny tin can bobbing in the middle of the wash, with machine- gun crews competing to perforate us. It was a hot day and the windows were rolled down. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it sounded like one or two bullets zipped through the cab and missed us both. Then Swenson laughed a maniac’s cackle, and I joined in. We are fucking nuts!

The pickup was now definitely too banged up to continue. If we broke an axle or lost cooling fluid, we’d be quickly finished off. We jounced down the wash and turned left into the shelter of the rough trace.

VIDEO: Dakota Meyer’s story, in his own words.
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