Medal of Honor recipient: Taliban 'simply couldn't have' outpost
Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha was awarded the Medal of Honor for preventing the Taliban from overrunning his outpost in 2009. Tuesday he was inducted into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.
(Page 2 of 2)
On that October morning in 2009, Romesha, who had already served two tours of duty in Iraq, distinguished himself, repeatedly moving through an open and uncovered avenue on the base, which was being hit with a barrage of gunfire and RPG fire, as he made sure his fellow soldiers were in place and well-equipped.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Romesha at one point took cover near a generator to fire at a Taliban machine gun team that that was on high ground. “After destroying this team,” he turned his sights on another machine gun team “that was firing an overwhelming amount of fire” onto the base, according to the Defense Department’s official narrative of the battle.
As he was doing that, however, an RPG hit the generator and knocked Romesha backward, onto his assistant gunner.
“Not noticing his own wounds, Romesha re-engaged the enemy with his weapon system until an additional soldier arrived to man the machine gun.”
At this point, Romesha moved back along the base’s deadly open avenue to assemble another team and to make sure they were well equipped with ammunition.
It was only when he arrived back at the barracks to put together the team did another soldier notice his wounds and provide first aid.
His shrapnel wounds treated, Romesha assembled a five-man team and told them to load up on ammunition. In the meantime, he went to check on a fellow soldier holding Taliban at bay.
As he did, Romesha grabbed “the only accessible sniper rifle along the way, a Dragunov belonging to the Afghan National Army.”
“With complete disregard for his own safety,” according to the official citation, Romesha “engaged multiple enemy positions,” including a machine gun nest and sniper. He also killed three Taliban fighters who had breached the perimeter of the outpost.
Along the way, the team also secured the ammunition depot and an entry control point that the Taliban was trying to break through.
He and his fellow soldiers then pushed forward 100 meters to prevent Taliban fighters from taking the bodies of US soldiers who had been killed during the battle.
“The Medal of Honor is not often given when things went well on a battlefield,” Romesha pointed out during the Pentagon induction ceremony.
Romesha is part of a “new greatest generation of Americans” that have stepped forward after 9/11, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the assembled audience Tuesday. “This generation has endured enormous hardships and they have done it with tremendous courage.”
As he prepares to depart his post as Defense secretary, Mr. Panetta took time during the ceremony to reflect on the condolence letters he has signed, and “the lives that were cut short in the prime of their life – the promises, the dreams, the aspirations that each of those fallen heroes carried with them.”
He said he hoped their sacrifice would encourage politicians to “carefully weigh when we send American men and women into battle.”
Then he turned to Romesha. “Your courage,” Panetta told him, “is now a part of American history.”
Making a Difference