Clinton Romesha was recognized for his heroism in one of the most heated battles of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The former Army Staff Sgt. displayed jaw dropping leadership and selflessness during a severely mismatched firefight in 2009, where 53 Americans were surrounded by 300 Taliban fighters. The site of the battle was Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan. One of the most remote American strongholds in the country, it is near the Pakistan border and surrounded by mountains.
Clinton Romesha is the fourth living veteran to receive a Medal of Honor for acts of heroism performed in Iraq or Afghanistan. During the attack, Clinton Romesha fought vehemently to save his life and the lives of his comrades. Even after he was wounded from shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade, Clinton Romesha continued to rescue his comrades under heavy fire and recover the bodies of others. Throughout the attack, Clinton Romesha also directed air assaults to protect the outpost.
The daylong firefight took place as many of the key officers at the outpost were away—Clinton Romesha stepped up immediately to fill the leadership vacuum as the outpost was getting pummeled by the enemy.
An army account attests that on that day, Clinton Romesha “displayed extraordinary heroism through a daylong engagement in which he killed multiple enemy fighters, recovered fallen soldiers and led multiple recovery, resupply, and counterattack operations."
President Obama awarded the medal to Clinton Romesha during an award ceremony on Monday, and recounted the heroic deeds of the veteran in vivid detail, with tears in his eyes. The courage of Clinton Romesha and his Bravo Troop comrades, Obama said, was “driven by pure love.” Clinton Romesha accepted the award and commendations silently, with tears in his eyes. His wife, Tammy, and three kids, Dessi, Gwen and Colin, joined him at the ceremony. Today Romesha works in the oil fields of North Dakota, and Obama has characterized him as “a pretty humble guy.”