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.


 
 

 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 
 
Navy photograph by PO2 Brian Wilbur

Nisei veterans honored with France’s highest award

Navy photograph by PO2 Brian Wilbur Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, delivers remarks at a ceremony honoring World War II veterans of the 100th Battalion 442nd Regiment at the Japanese Cultural Center of ...
 
 

VA announces appointment of new members to advisory council

The Department of Veterans Affairs is announcing the appointment of new members to the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses. VA will appoint Stephen L. Hauser, MD as committee chair for a term through September, 2016. Hauser is the Robert A. Fishman Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the...
 

 

Applications accepted for 2015 National Veterans Wheelchair Games

The Department of Veterans Affairs is accepting applications for the 2015 National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Registration began in early January and will close April 15. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is a sports and rehabilitation program for military service Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological...
 
 

Report: Agent Orange planes hold risk years after Vietnam

The health of some U.S. Air Force reservists could have been put at risk from the residue left in planes that sprayed Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, the Institute of Medicine reported Jan. 9. There’s not much data about the level of contamination, but limited testing years later make it plausible that some reservists...
 
 

Consolidation of POW/MIA mission moving forward

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Jan. 9 the Defense Department will, effective Monday, consolidate into one new agency the organizations that account for U.S. military prisoners of war and those missing in action. Hagel called for a review early last year to bring together the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, the Joint Personnel Accounting...
 




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>