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

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

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.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs