News / USA

    Afghan War Veteran Receives Medal of Honor

    President Barack Obama bestows the Medal of Honor on retired Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha for conspicuous gallantry, Feb. 11, 2013,  in the East Room of the White House.
    President Barack Obama bestows the Medal of Honor on retired Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha for conspicuous gallantry, Feb. 11, 2013, in the East Room of the White House.
    Former Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha was serving with Bravo Troop at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan.

    He and 52 other U.S. soldiers came under an intense AK-47 and rocket-propelled grenade attack from a force estimated at more than 300 Taliban fighters.

    Despite shrapnel wounds, Romesha organized and led a counter-attack to hold the outpost, calling in air strikes and helping to recover fallen comrades.

    Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and 22 wounded in fighting that lasted through the day.

    President Obama recounted the battle and the courage Romesha and fellow-soldiers showed in the face of devastating fire.

    "Throughout history the question has often been asked, why?  Why do those in uniform take such extraordinary risks and what compels them to such courage?  You ask Clint and any of these soldiers who are here today and they will 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," said President Obama.

    Afterwards, Romesha appeared before media cameras at the White House and said that like other Medal of Honor recipients he had mixed emotions of joy and sadness as he remembered sacrifices of fellow soldiers.

    "I'm feeling conflicted with this medal I now wear," said Romesha. "The joy comes from recognition for us doing our jobs as soldiers on distant battlefields.  But it is countered by the constant reminder of the loss our battle buddies.  My battle buddies.  My soldiers, my friends."

    Romesha said he and his comrades were determined "not to be beat that day" in Afghanistan, adding he accepted the Medal of Honor for all who served and the eight who died.  President Obama recognized members of Bravo Troop during the ceremony.

    In his remarks before awarding the medal to Romesha, President Obama noted the results of an investigation into the attack showed that the camp was "tactically indefensible."

    "There are many lessons from COP [Combat Outpost] Keating," said Obama. "One of them is that our troops should never, ever be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensible.  That is what these soldiers did for each other, in sacrifice driven by pure love."

    The son of a Vietnam War veteran, Romesha also served in Kosovo, and Iraq.  He is the fourth living recipient to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    President Obama has awarded the medal to three other living Afghanistan war veterans, and posthumously to four veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea.

    Romesha receives another honor on Tuesday.  He will be among guests invited by the president to observe the State of the Union Address, sitting next to First Lady Michelle Obama in the House of Representatives chamber.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nohu from: Japan
    February 11, 2013 9:16 PM
    what a nonsense!
    These people got a medal as a result killing people.
    There is nothing in the war.
    fight for their country? fight for our freedom?
    No. fight to oil, military industry.
    The war is really meaningless.
    We must not wage a battle by guns.
    So I'm really afraid gun society. Gun's purpose is only injuring or killing people.
    In Response

    by: Sean
    February 12, 2013 12:53 PM
    Yeah...because there is so much oil in Afghanistan. Try again.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora