Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP)
Former Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha was awarded the Medal of honour today, becoming the fourth living recipient of the nation’s highest military award for valor in Iraq or Afghanistan.Romesha was recognised for the actions he took on Oct. 3, 2009, when his forward base — Combat Outpost Keating — was attacked and overrun by over 300 Taliban fighters.
“People were looking out for each other, and just knowing we had a job to do and a tough fight,” Romesha told Jonathan Karl of ABC News. “Battle buddies came together. When you could look to your left and to your right, you counted on those guys, just like they counted on you, and that’s what it means.”
As fighters breached the perimeter of the camp, Romesha calmly rallied the men of 3-61 “Black Knight Troop” to repel the assault even after he was wounded. Army officials say he began directing his fellow soldiers to respond to the attack after two soldiers were killed by Taliban snipers. As he tried to rescue his teammates who were pinned down, he was then peppered with shrapnel from an incoming rocket-propelled grenade.
Romesha repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire and later established a strong point that would help repel the enemy from the outpost.
The 31-year old Staff Sergeant is adamant however, about praising his fellow soldiers for what they did on that day.
“We had the greatest soldiers. The best trained. I mean, that American spirit, that warrior spirit: that’s in our guys,” Romesha told ABC News. “They were outnumbered that day. They were.”
Outside the White House after the ceremony, he told Jake Tapper:
“I accept this tremendous honour on behalf of all soldiers who have served with me that day. This award is for the eight soldiers that didn’t make it and for the rest of the team that fought valiantly and magnificently that day. I will forever be humbled by their bravery, their commitment to service and their loyalty to one another.
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