Veterans

February 13, 2013

President awards Medal of Honor to Afghanistan veteran

Tags:
C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2013. Romesha received the Medal of Honor for his actions during a daylong firefight in Afghanistan in October 2009.

President Barack Obama placed the Medal of Honor around the neck of former Army SSgt. Clinton L. Romesha during a ceremony Feb. 11 in the East Room of the White House.

Romesha, the fourth living service member to receive the medal for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, earned the Medal of Honor for actions Oct. 3, 2009, at Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh district of Afghanistanís Nuristan province.

On that morning, Combat Outpost Keating – manned by only 53 soldiers and situated at the bottom of a steep valley – came under attack by as many as 300 Taliban fighters.

During the fight, the enemy breached the outpostís perimeter. Romesha, who was injured in the battle, led the fight to protect the bodies of fallen soldiers, provide cover to those soldiers seeking medical assistance and reclaim the American outpost that later would be deemed “tactically indefensible.”

“Throughout history, the question has often been asked, ëWhy? Why do those in uniform take such extraordinary risks? And what compels them to such courage?í” the president said. “You ask Clint and any of these soldiers who are here today, and they’ll tell you. Yes, they fight for their country, and they fight for our freedom. Yes, they fight to come home to their families. But most of all, they fight for each other – to keep each other safe and to have each other’s backs.”

The White House ceremony was attended by several hundred, including lawmakers, defense leaders, Romesha’s family, and team members from Romesha’s own Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Also in attendance were Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III.

The president said that upon learning he would receive the Medal of Honor, Romesha displayed the brand of humility typical of many soldiers.

“When I called Clint to tell him that he would receive this medal, he said he was honored, but he also said, ‘It wasn’t just me out there. It was a team effort,'” the president said. “And so today we also honor this American team, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Included among those who died in the fighting that day in Afghanistan were Pfc. Kevin Thomson, Sgt. Michael Scusa, Sgt. Joshua Kirk, Sgt. Christopher Griffin, SSgt. Justin Gallegos, SSgt. Vernon Martin, Sgt. Joshua Hardt, and Spec. Stephan Mace.

“Each of these patriots gave their lives looking out for each other,” Obama said. “In a battle that raged all day, that brand of selflessness was displayed again and again and again – soldiers exposing themselves to enemy fire to pull a comrade to safety, tending to each other’s wounds, [and] performing ‘buddy transfusions’ – giving each other their own blood.”

Obama noted that it wasn’t just Romesha who earned recognition for his actions that day. From that battle, soldiers earned 37 Army Commendation Medals, 27 Purple Hearts, 18 Bronze Stars and nine Silver Stars, the president said.

“These men were outnumbered, outgunned and almost overrun,” Obama said. “Looking back, one of them said, ‘I’m surprised any of us made it out.’ But they are here today. And I would ask these soldiers – this band of brothers – to stand and accept the gratitude of our entire nation.

“God bless you, Clint Romesha, and all of your team,” the president said. “God bless all who serve. And God bless the United States of America.

The president then asked that the Medal of Honor citation be read, and following that, he placed the medal around Romesha’s neck.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph

AF holds 50th anniversary Vietnam War commemoration ceremony

Air Force photograph F-105 crews played a key role in Operation Rolling Thunder. During this three-year Vietnam War campaign, Air Force, Marine and Navy aircraft bombed targets throughout North Vietnam. U.S. and Australian wars...
 
 

Airmen missing from WWII accounted for

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 23, that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Mont.; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake...
 
 

President signs Clay Hunt Act, says ‘Stigma has to end’

President Barack Obama Feb. 12 signed into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, or SAV Act. The act is aimed at reducing military and veteran suicides and improving their access to quality mental health care. Hunt was a decorated Marine veteran who struggled with post-traumatic stress. He deployed to Iraq and...
 

 

Survivor of USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor attack dies at 100

YUBA CITY, Calif. – The oldest living crew member of the battleship USS Arizona to have survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Northern California at the age of 100. Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell died Feb. 4 at a nursing home in Yuba City, according to his son, Ted Langdell....
 
 
Photograph by Diane Betzler

Edwards Airmen celebrate Super Bowl with local retired veterans

Photograph by Diane Betzler Life is good: Retired veterans and residents of the William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans’ Home enjoy watching the Super Bowl, eating a delicious steak dinner and swapping war stories with members ...
 
 

Reunions – February thru April, 2015

374th Field Maint Sqdn., PACAF Feb. 13-14; Biloxi, Miss. For more information, contact Larry Voss at (218) 410-2192 or email levs.22@hotmail.com. 11th Abn/Air Assault Div Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and 187th RCT Feb. 21-25; Myrtle Beach, S.C. For more information, contact Artie Heape at (843) 846-4693 or email artieheape@centurylink.net. Seabees in Ireland & Scotland, NMCB 62 Feb....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>