Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha
A few days ago the President announced that Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions at Combat Outpost Keating in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan in October of 2009. He was part of a combined force of about seventy Americans, forty-two Afghans, and a couple of Latvians that came under a coordinated and well-armed attack by around 300 insurgents.
Eight Americans were killed during the battle that lasted most of the day. The Afghans who were with the Americans fled, leaving the American and Latvian Soldiers to fight alone.
Romesha was everywhere that day. According to his citation, “…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.”
An Army Times article by Michelle Tan described the scene. “During the first three hours of the battle, mortars hit the COP and OP every 15 seconds, and in less than an hour, the enemy swarmed the COP, breaching the Afghan army side of the compound. The enemy eventually set fire to the small outpost, destroying almost 70 percent of it.
“Romesha and his fellow soldiers immediately fought back — and continued to fight for hours — as heavy enemy fire rained down on them from all directions.
“According to the citation accompanying Romesha’s Medal of Honor, the staff sergeant moved 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, who is identified in’The Outpost’ [a book by Jake Tapper]as Cpl. Justin Gregory.
“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,’ according to the citation.
“Undeterred by his injuries, Romesha continued to fight, and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and with the assistant gunner, Romesha again ‘rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers.’
“Romesha then mobilized and led a five-man team and returned to the fight.”
He also directed air support to take out an additional 30 Taliban.
Sometimes it feels as if the country has forgotten we are still at war. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s actions and recognition serve to remind us that young men and women continue to answer the call to serve bravely.
He is our hero of the week.
Update: Thanks to Michael for the heads up to this story, plus the following update: “We weren’t going to be beat that day.”