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An American Hero Honored

January 12, 2013
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Picture 4There two ways to become immortal in the United States.  The first way is to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The true heroes, the greatest of them all, receive the Medal of Honor.  It is called the Medal of Honor because so few will ever wear the award.  Even fewer of those who receive the greatest award this nation has to offer are yet living.  Now, Clinton L. Romesha, age 31, from Lake City, CA, will join those ranks.

“...On February 11, 2013, President Barack Obama will award Clinton Romesha, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

Staff Sergeant Romesha will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Section Leader with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Combat Outpost Keating, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009.

He will be the fourth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Staff Sergeant Romesha separated from the Army on April 4, 2011.  He and his family currently live in Minot, North Dakota.   He is married to Tamara (Tami) Romesha and they have three children; Dessi, Gwen, and Colin.

Staff Sergeant Romesha enlisted in the Army in September 1999 as an M1 Armor Crewman.  After completion of training at Ft Knox, he was assigned as a Tank Gunner with B Company,    1-63rd  Armor, Camp Vilseck, Germany which included an Operational Deployment to Kosovo.  After Germany, he was assigned as a Gunner/Assistant Tank Commander with A Company,       2-72nd Armor, Camp Casey, Korea.  Following Korea, which included a Combat Tour to Iraq, he was assigned as a Section Leader with 3-61st  Cav, Ft Carson, CO.  There he completed the Long Range Reconnaissance Course, Advanced Leader Course, and Air Assault Training.

At the time of the October 3, 2009 combat engagement, Staff Sergeant Romesha was a Section Leader assigned to B Troop, 3-61 Cav, 4th BCT, 4th ID.   His actions were performed at COP Keating, Kamdesh District, Afghanistan.

His military decorations include: the Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal w/three Campaign Stars, Bronze Star Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, Purple Heart, five Army Achievement Medals, Valorous Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon w/ Numeral 2, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon w/ Numeral 5, NATO Medal w/ Bronze Service Star, and the Combat Action Badge. …

Killed that day, at Combat Outpost Keating in northeastern Afghanistan were:

• Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, 25, of Savannah, Ga.

• Staff Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, 27, of Tucson, Ariz.

• Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, 24, of Applegate, Calif.

• Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk, 30, of South Portland, Maine

• Sgt. Michael P. Scusa, 22, of Villas, N.J.

• Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, 24, of Kincheloe, Mich.

• Spc. Stephan L. Mace, 21, of Lovettsville, Va.

• Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson, 22, of Reno, Nev.

According to the Army Times:

“...At 5:58 a.m. Oct. 3, 2009, the enemy launched its attack from all four sides of the small COP, which was nestled in the bottom of a valley surrounded by towering mountains.About 50 American, 20 Afghan and two Latvian soldiers were stationed at COP Keating, along with about a dozen Afghan Security Guards. Nearby, the 19 American and 10 Afghan soldiers at Observation Post Fritsche also came under heavy fire.Firing a recoilless rifle, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine guns and rifles, the enemy quickly wreaked havoc on the two positions.In two minutes, the first U.S. soldier was killed as the enemy targeted the COP’s mortar pit and pinned down the soldiers at OP Fritsche, preventing them from providing supporting fire to COP Keating.The Afghan troops and security guards reportedly quickly abandoned their posts, leaving the Americans and Latvians to fight alone.During the first three hours of the battle, mortars hit the COP and OP every 15 seconds, and in less than an hour, the enemy swarmed the COP, breaching the Afghan army side of the compound. The enemy eventually set fire to the small outpost, destroying almost 70 percent of it.Romesha and his fellow soldiers immediately fought back — and continued to fight for hours — as heavy enemy fire rained down on them from all directions.According to the citation accompanying Romesha’s Medal of Honor, the staff sergeant moved under intense enemy fire to reconnoiter the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner, who is identified in “The Outpost” as Cpl. Justin Gregory.Romesha “took out an enemy machine gun team and, while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with shrapnel wounds,” according to the citation.Undeterred by his injuries, Romesha continued to fight, and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and with the assistant gunner, Romesha again “rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers.”Romesha then mobilized and led a five-man team and returned to the fight.“With complete disregard for his own safety, Romesha continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved confidently about the battlefield, engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets, including three Taliban fighters who had breached the combat outpost’s perimeter,” according to the citation.As the enemy attacked the COP with even “greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless rifle rounds,” Romesha “identified the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters.”When he learned that other soldiers at a distant battle position were still alive, Romesha and his team provided covering fire, allowing three of their wounded comrades to reach the aid station, according to the citation.Romesha and his team also moved 100 meters under “withering fire” to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades….”

 

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