Army Veteran to Be Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroism in Afghanistan (Updated)
We learn some more details about the actions for which Sgt. Romesha is being awarded the Medal of Honor from Jennifer Hlad at the Stars and Stripes with contributions by Leo Shane:
According to written accounts by military historian Richard S. Lowry, enemy fighters launched an assault against the post, attacking from three sides and coming close to taking the ammunition supply point.
Romesha led a counterattack to reclaim the ammunition bunker, Lowry wrote.
Eight soldiers were killed in the firefight, which Lowry said lasted 12 hours.
Romesha, who enlisted in 1999 and left the Army in 2011, deployed to Afghanistan twice and to Iraq four times. He has several military decorations, including a Bronze Star, three Army Commendation medals and five Army Achievement medals.
The attack on COP Keating remains one of the deadliest attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan and is chronicled in the book “The Outpost,” by Jake Tapper. In it, Tapper writes that Romesha is the son of a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedarville, Calif.
As has been mentioned by many, including this writer, “[t]he scarcity of battlefield valor awards has been a sore spot for veterans groups and lawmakers in recent years. Only seven men, including Romesha, have been awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan since 2001, and only four have received the award for valor in Iraq,” says Hlad.
Photo of Sgt. Romesha: Courtesy Stars and Stripes
American Forces Press Service reports that a former Army staff sergeant, Clinton Romesha, will become the fourth living recipient of the nation’s highest award for battlefield gallantry in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The President will bestow the Medal of Honor to Romesha in a Feb. 13 White House ceremony. Romesha’s family will join the President at the White House to commemorate Romesha’s example of selfless service.
The White House announces that Staff Sergeant Romesha will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Section Leader with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Combat Outpost Keating, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009.
The White House also provides the following “Background”:
Staff Sergeant Romesha separated from the Army on April 4, 2011. He and his family currently live in Minot, North Dakota. He is married to Tamara (Tami) Romesha and they have three children; Dessi, Gwen, and Colin.
Staff Sergeant Romesha enlisted in the Army in September 1999 as an M1 Armor Crewman. After completion of training at Ft Knox, he was assigned as a Tank Gunner with B Company, 1-63rd Armor, Camp Vilseck, Germany which included an Operational Deployment to Kosovo. After Germany, he was assigned as a Gunner/Assistant Tank Commander with A Company, 2-72nd Armor, Camp Casey, Korea. Following Korea, which included a Combat Tour to Iraq, he was assigned as a Section Leader with 3-61st Cav, Ft Carson, CO. There he completed the Long Range Reconnaissance Course, Advanced Leader Course, and Air Assault Training.
At the time of the October 3, 2009 combat engagement, Staff Sergeant Romesha was a Section Leader assigned to B Troop, 3-61 Cav, 4th BCT, 4th ID.
His actions were performed at COP Keating, Kamdesh District, Afghanistan.
His military decorations include: the Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal w/three Campaign Stars, Bronze Star Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, Purple Heart, five Army Achievement Medals, Valorous Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon w/ Numeral 2, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon w/ Numeral 5, NATO Medal w/ Bronze Service Star, and the Combat Action Badge.
As more information becomes available, this post will be updated.