Medal of Honor recipient sues defense contractor

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A U.S. Marine given the nation's highest
award for valor is suing a defense contractor that he says
ridiculed his Medal of Honor, called him mentally unstable and
suggested he had a drinking problem, thereby costing him a job.
Dakota Meyer became just the third living recipient of the Medal
of Honor in September, two years after the young corporal saved 36
lives during a six-hour ambush in Afghanistan. President Barack
Obama praised Meyer, 23, for his humility and work ethic and
treated him to a beer in the Rose Garden.

But Meyer says in a defamation lawsuit filed in Texas that his
former employer, BAE Systems OASYS Inc., ruined his chances at
landing a new job by telling a prospective employer that he was a
poor worker during a three-month stint earlier this year.
A BAE Systems manager said Meyer "was mentally unstable, that
Sgt. Meyer was not performing BAE tasks assigned and that Sgt.
Meyer had a problem related to drinking in a social setting,"
according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, seeks
unspecified damages.
BAE Systems spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told The Associated Press
on Tuesday that the company was grateful to Meyer for his bravery
but strongly disagreed with his claims. He called Meyer's actions
in Afghanistan "heroic" and wished him success.

Attorneys for Meyer did not immediately return a phone message
Tuesday.
Meyer was working construction in his home state of Kentucky
when he was awarded the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White
House.
According to the lawsuit filed Monday, BAE hired Meyer in March
but the relationship quickly soured. Meyer said he became dismayed
in April upon learning that BAE had pursued sales of weapons
systems to Pakistan, and sent an email to his supervisor expressing
his disapproval.

Meyer wrote that it was "disturbing" how U.S. troops were
being issued outdated equipment when better, advanced thermal optic
scopes were being offered to Pakistan.
"We are simply taking the best gear, the best technology on the
market to date and giving to guys who that are known to stab us in
the back," Meyer wrote in the email, according to the lawsuit.
Roehrkasse, the BAE spokesman, said it is the State Department
and not BAE that makes the decision on which 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," Roehrkasse said.
Meyer claims his supervisor began berating and belittling him
after sending the email, at one point allegedly taunting him about
his Medal of Honor by calling it Meyer's "pending star status."
That supervisor, Bobby McCreight, is also named in the lawsuit and
is still employed by BAE. Roehrkasse said McCreight is a former
decorated Marine sniper.

Meyer resigned from BAE in May. He then tried obtaining a job at
a former employer, San Diego-based Ausgar Technologies, but the
lawsuit claims the opportunity fell through after McCreight
characterized Meyer as a poor employee during a conversation with a
manager who had to approve new hires.

"Bottom line, it was determined that ... you were not
recommended to be placed back on the team due to being mentally
unstable and no (sic) performing on OASYS tasks assigned,"
according to an email from an AUSGAR manger included in the
lawsuit.
Valerie Ellis, an administrator at Ausgar, said the company had
no comment when reached Tuesday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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