EXCLUSIVE: Dakota Meyer gives humbling speech at 2016 SHOT Show


While most attendees of the 2016 SHOT Show in Las Vegas were roaming the casinos or looking at the latest firearms on the convention floor a group of veterans and a few firearm industry professionals gathered in a small ballroom on the fourth floor of the Venetian hotel for the 2015 Marine Corps Scout Sniper Awards.

In 2013, the USMC Scout Sniper Association instituted a new program to formally recognize the Marine Corps Scout Sniper instructors, who train and develop Marines into becoming some of the best scout snipers in the military.  Every year a winner is picked after each Scout Sniper School votes to determine their top-rated Scout Sniper instructor.

After the award was well-received in the Scout Sniper community an additional award, Scout Sniper of the Year, was added in 2014.  This award is given to a Scout Sniper who is selected for his “professional achievement, technical proficiency; leadership; significant accomplishments as a Scout Sniper; and demonstration of pride in being a Scout Sniper.”

For the 2015 Scout Sniper Awards former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer were chosen as guest speakers and presenters of the awards.

Rick Perry chose to honor Marines as his first public act after officially handing over the title of Texas Governor to Greg Abbot one day earlier.  After 5,144 days serving the state of Texas (the longest serving in the state’s history), he chose to fly straight to Las Vegas to honor two excellent Marines, one of which was only days home from a deployment.

It did not take long for Perry to leave politics and his business suit behind.  The 64 year-old outgoing governor wore boots, cargo pants and a tucked-in LaRue Tactical shirt along with a paid-for Shot Show badge – just like anyone else attending the Shot Show.

After an engaging speech that paid respect and mostly showed his admiration of service members and the Marine Corps, Perry introduced Dakota Meyer.

Dakota Meyer, a Marine Corps Scout Sniper, is the first living Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.  Meyer, who was born in Columbia, Kentucky, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011 for his extraordinary actions during a six-hour firefight in Afghanistan in 2009.

Meyer, who has become somewhat of a celebrity, made it very clear in the beginning of his speech that he is a humble hero who only carries the honor of the award in which he was presented.

“There are only two significant points in my life…the first one was becoming a United States Marine and the second was becoming a United States Marine Scout Sniper” Meyer said.

He continued to say, “I am not a Medal of Honor recipient; I am a United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper that received the Medal of Honor.”

Meyer congratulated the two Marine awardees on their accomplishments as Marine Corps Scout Snipers.

Jason Mann, president of the USMC Scout Sniper Association, relieved Meyer at the podium to present the Marine Corps Scout Sniper of the Year and the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Instructor of the Year awards.

The 2015 Scout Sniper Instructor of the Year award was presented to Sergeant Jacob B. Ruiz of Reno, Nevada.  He joined the Marine Corps in 2006 and graduated Scout Sniper School in 2010.   After serving in several Scout Sniper billets he became an instructor at the Scout Sniper Instructor School in Quantico in 2013.  Currently, he holds the position of Course Chief at the Quantico SSIS.

Mark LaRue (left) of LaRue Tactical, Dakota Meyer (right) and Rick Perry (center right) present Sgt. Jacob B. Ruiz with the 2015 Marine Corps Scout Sniper Instructor of the year award. Photo Credit: Michael Swaney/Popular Military
Mark LaRue (left) of LaRue Tactical, Dakota Meyer (right) and Rick Perry (center right) present Sgt. Jacob B. Ruiz with the 2015 Marine Corps Scout Sniper Instructor of the year award. Photo Credit: Michael Swaney/Popular Military

The 2015 Scout Sniper of the Year award was presented to Staff Sergeant Shaun D. Garvey, who is currently deployed with the Fleet Marine Force.  With the help of the USMC Scout Sniper association he and his family were able to attend the SHOT Show for the award ceremony.  Garvey joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and graduated from Scout Sniper School in 2008.  In 2012, after serving in various Scout Sniper billets, he became an instructor at the Camp Pendleton Scout Sniper School.  He held this position for three years and is now serving in the Fleet Marine Force.

Jason Mann (left), Mark LaRue (right) of LaRue Tactical, Dakota Meyer (second from left) and Rick Perry (center) present Staff Sgt. Shaun D. Garvey with the 2015 Marine Corps Scout Sniper of the year award. Photo Credit: Michael Swaney/Popular Military
Jason Mann (left), Mark LaRue (right) of LaRue Tactical, Dakota Meyer (second from left) and Rick Perry (center) present Staff Sgt. Shaun D. Garvey with the 2015 Marine Corps Scout Sniper of the year award. Photo Credit: Michael Swaney/Popular Military

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