There wasn’t a dry eye in the room Monday as President Obama awarded the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, to former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha for his heroic actions during the intense and deadly Oct. 3, 2009, attack on Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan.
Romesha, 31, was a section leader in B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during the 12-hour battle that killed eight American soldiers and wounded 24 others. The vicious enemy attack is documented in the book, “The Outpost,” by author Jake Tapper.
During Monday’s ceremony, Obama acknowledged the sacrifice of those who died during the battle at COP Keating, and recognized the surviving members of Romesha’s Army unit. Family members of both the fallen soldiers and survivors wept openly during the ceremony.
An earlier BizPac Review article described the epic attack at COP Keating as summarized by the Minot Daily News:
Staff Sgt. Romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms.
Romesha moved uncovered under intense enemy fire to reconnoiter the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner.
Romesha took out an enemy machine gun team and, while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with shrapnel wounds.
Undeterred by his injuries, Romesha continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he again rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers.
Romesha then mobilized a five-man team and returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. With complete disregard for his own safety, Romesha continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire, as he moved confidently about the battlefield engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets, including three Taliban fighters who had breached the combat outpost’s perimeter.
While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield, Romesha maintained radio communication with the tactical operations center. As the enemy forces attacked with even greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless rifle rounds, Romesha identified the point of attack and directed air support to destroy more than 30 enemy fighters.
After learning that other soldiers at a distant battle position were still alive, Romesha and his team provided covering fire, allowing three of their wounded comrades to reach the aid station. While subduing enemy fighters in their path, he and his team pushed forward 100 meters under withering fire, to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades.
Romesha, a husband and father of three, is only the fourth living veteran to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in either Iraq or Afghanistan. He will be a guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union address, CNN reported.
Watch Romesha receive the Medal of Honor on CNN here: