ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Medal of Honor winner is seeking joint custody of the child he had out of wedlock with Bristol Palin, a former reality television personality and daughter of 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Dakota Meyer filed a lawsuit against Bristol Palin in Alaska Superior Court on Monday seeking joint custody of their child, Sailor Grace Palin. The child was born Dec. 23.
"Dakota couldn't be more excited to be a new father and the best dad that he can be," his lawyer, Kimberlee Colbo, said in an email to The Associated Press.
"To him, that means being a big part of his daughter's life. Beyond that, he'd really appreciate and thank his friends, supporters and the news media for respecting the privacy of each family in this very personal matter," Colbo said.
Attempts to reach a spokesman for Bristol Palin, who competed twice on "Dancing with the Stars" and had her own reality show on cable, weren't immediately successful. The Palin family lawyer declined to comment.
Meyer, a former Marine living in Greensburg, Kentucky, was engaged to Palin, but the wedding was abruptly called off a week before it was to take place last May.
Meyer is seeking joint custody and shared physical custody of the child, and the court could decide child support.
"At this point, no one is seeking child support," Colbo said.
It's the second child for Palin. "Our family couldn't be more complete," she wrote on Instagram when Sailor Grace was born last month.
Meyer tweeted it was the "Best Christmas present ever!!"
Palin announced her second pregnancy on her blog in June, a month after the two broke off the engagement.
She has not publicly identified the father of the child, but Meyer's court filings say: "Meyer and Palin had a relationship and were engaged to be married until May 2015. Meyer believes that he is the biological father of the minor child."
Palin had been a spokeswoman for an abstinence group and against teenage pregnancies after she gave birth to her first child, Tripp, when she was an unmarried teen in 2008.
"I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you," she wrote on her blog when announcing her second pregnancy. "I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy."
Palin was 18 when her mother, then the governor of Alaska, was selected by U.S. Sen. John McCain to be his running mate as he ran for president. Shortly after the selection, it was announced that the teenager was pregnant with her first child.
At the time, Sarah Palin said her daughter and the baby's father would marry. Bristol Palin and the father, Levi Johnston, eventually ended the relationship.
Bristol Palin later performed on "Dancing with the Stars" and had a short-lived cable TV show called "Life's a Tripp."
McCain lost the 2008 presidential race to Democrat Barack Obama, who presented the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, to Meyer in 2011. The president and Meyer had a beer at the White House the night before the presentation.
Meyer saved 36 lives during an ambush in September 2009 by insurgents in Afghanistan. He is credited with saving 13 Marines and Army soldiers, along with 23 Afghan soldiers. The military says Meyer personally killed at least eight insurgents despite being wounded himself.