Medal of Honor recipient suing BAE for character damage
By LEO SHANE III | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 29, 2011
WASHINGTON — Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer is suing a defense contractor for allegedly labeling him a mentally unstable employee with a drinking problem, damaging his reputation as a war hero.
The lawsuit, filed in Bexar County, Texas, accuses supervisors at BAE Systems Inc. of fabricating the claims after Meyer raised concerns over the possible sale of sophisticated rifle scopes to the Pakistani military. Officials at BAE immediately denied the charges.
Meyer initially filed the legal action in June, but news of the lawsuit came to light after the Wall Street Journal uncovered an amended complaint Monday.
The 23-year-old former Marine worked for the company in their business development office for only a few months before quitting in May. A few weeks later, the White House announced he would receive the nation’s top military honor.
In the lawsuit, Meyer alleges that soon after beginning his work at BAE he learned the company was trying to sell high-tech rifle scopes to Pakistan. He objected to the practice, raising concerns about the allegiances of Pakistani troops in the fight against the Taliban.
In response, his supervisor -- Bobby McCreight, a former Marine sniper, like Meyer -– began harassing him and undermining his work, Meyer said. Unhappy with the situation, Meyer quit and tried to return to his previous defense contracting job.
But the lawsuit alleges that McCreight sabotaged those efforts, telling Defense Department hiring officials that Meyer was “mentally unstable” and “had a problem related to drinking in a social setting,” according to the Journal. Those comments affected his security clearance and prevented him from resuming his old job.
BAE spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said in a statement that the company “strongly disagrees” with the accusations in the lawsuit, but still holds Meyer in high regard. “As an organization whose core focus is to support and protect our nation’s troops, we are incredibly grateful to Dakota Meyer for his valiant service and bravery above and beyond the call of duty,”
Roehrkasse would not directly address the specifics of the allegations, but said that the sale of weaponry to foreign militaries is regulated by the U.S. State Department. He would not say whether the items were sold to Pakistan, but noted that “the U.S. Government has approved the export of defense-related goods from numerous defense companies to Pakistan as part of the United States’ bilateral relationship with that country.”
In September, Meyer became the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. His heroics came in the controversial battle of Ganjgal, which claimed the lives of five U.S. servicemembers and nine Afghan allies.
Despite being ordered not to endanger his own life to try and save his fellow troops, Meyer, then a corporal, fought down a mountainside to rescue wounded troops and recover the bodies of those already killed. Marine Corps officials said without Meyer’s willingness to risk his own life, many more troops would have died that day.
Since receiving the award, Meyer has made numerous public appearances promoting the military and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. He tried to land a job as a New York firefighter, but missed the deadline to apply. When the city offered to extend the deadline for him, he declined the special treatment. He later was hired as military adviser for Maxim Magazine. Meyer’s attorneys refused requests seeking comment on the lawsuit.