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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs