A former Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor is suing his former employer for character defamation.
Former Sgt. Dakota Meyer was awarded the military’s highest honor by President Obama this past September for his combat actions two years prior when he defied military orders and rushed into enemy fire. His actions saved the lives of 36 of his fellow service members in Afghanistan.
President Obama had called Meyer “one of the most down-to-earth guys you will ever meet.”
However, now Meyer says his former employer at BAE Systems, a defense contractor, defamed his character by alleging that he has a drinking problem and is mentally unstable. Meyer claims the allegations were made out of spite after he sent an email to his supervisor criticizing the company’s sale of high-tech arms to Pakistan, specifically the sale of advanced thermal optic scopes.
According to CNN, the lawsuit claims that Meyer’s email to his manager, Bobby McCreight, stated:
“We are taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving it to guys known to stab us in the back. These are the same people killing our guys."
After Meyer sent his complaints, the lawsuit says that McCreight, a veteran himself, began “berating and belittling” the 23-year-old and made fun of his Medal of Honor, calling it his “pending star status.”
Meyer had started working for BAE in March, but after learning about the sales and feeling hostility from his supervisor, he resigned in April. He attempted to get his old job back at Ausgar Technologies, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business in California, where he had worked after leaving active duty in May 2010.
However, Meyer received an email from the Department of Defense claiming that he was not medically fit for the job he had so recently held. The DoD apparently re-evaluated Meyer’s mental health after McCreight contacted the DoD program manager, soon after Meyer’s resignation, stating that the former sergeant was “mentally unstable” and “had a problem related to drinking in a social setting.”
After learning about McCreight’s email in June, Meyer filed the legal papers. The lawsuit was first brought to light by The Wall Street Journal.
Meyer’s former supervisor at Ausgar Technologies and retired naval officer, Tom Grant, told ABC that Meyer was one of the best employees he’s had.
"He exhibited a maturity for his age and an insightful capability to get the job done and provide recommendations to improve on what we are doing. I was very impressed while he was working for us. He was an outstanding employee."
When asked about the mental and alcohol allegations, Grant said, "While Meyer was working for me, I never saw evidence of either of those issues."
BAE claims that the decision to sell arms to Pakistan is not up to them. Brian J. Roehrkasse, vice president of public relations at the company, released a statement, saying, "The U.S. Department of State, not BAE Systems, makes the decision on what defense-related products can be exported. In recent years, 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."
The Department of State has confirmed the authorization, however, saying that the weapons were for “demonstration” purposes only and that no sales conspired.
BAE thanked Meyer for his service and wished him the best in the future. However, Roehrkasse told ABC that the company strongly disagrees with Meyer’s claims and intends to “vigorously defend [themselves] through the appropriate legal process.”