President awards Medal of Honor to hero of Afghan battle
Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha led defense of US Army outpost
- Duration 23:20
- Date Feb 11, 2013
Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha led defense of US Army outpost
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Let us Brett.
Money regional god from whom we column to whom we belong.
News service we find peace here -- her.
The two days ago or written to be called in -- spurt that faithful servants of truth and justice.
Be -- of -- In readiness for the conflict.
Is better for Ross who perished in battle.
Look upon the -- of our nation.
They -- got to be Paula -- recognized men and valor.
Who -- in this for the conflict the battle of Candace came upon them.
There's a good story it's one of life and of death.
Itself the service faithfully rendered at the moment of truth.
-- belongs to that small band of black knights.
-- the nation grateful for the -- Of the men who follow.
-- the man who leads.
We offer our gratitude for the actions.
Of those men that day.
For the actions.
On as the author wrote.
An intense guy short and wiry.
Thank you will not for the honor of claiming -- sacred story.
In writing it into our nation's history.
It is still our nation's highest honors upon staff sergeant -- shake.
Its actions that day that caught cheating.
Ran on to watch your holy presence.
You pay your abiding -- the internal mercies of on the belies.
The friends who gave the last full measure of devotion that day.
That's sergeant Vernon Martin.
They're sergeant Justin I Diego -- -- sergeant Joshua Hart.
Sergeant Joshua Kirk.
Bergen Michael who's.
Started Christopher -- Specialist Stephen mace.
And -- -- Kevin Thompson.
Now after blessing upon all of our servicemen and women at home and abroad.
They support and defend our constitution.
-- with -- and guidance to those who lead our nation.
-- -- and rummaging for example -- our terrorist inspire our devotion.
We -- this in pregnant holy name.
Please -- shooter -- good afternoon.
And on behalf of -- -- myself welcome to the White House.
Every day of the White House we received thousands.
Of letters from folks all across America and at night.
In my eyes studied.
-- read a few.
About three years ago -- received a letter from a mom.
In West Virginia.
For some -- and a specialist in the army.
Just 21 years old.
And given his life.
Should receive the condolence letter.
That I've sent were family let's send to.
Every -- befall.
And she wrote me back.
President she said.
You wrote me a letter telling me to my son was a hero.
I just wanted you to know what kind of hero he wants.
My -- -- -- -- soldier she wrote.
As far back as I can remember.
Stephan wanted to serve his country.
She spoke of how he loved his Brothers -- be true.
How he would do anything fort.
And of the brave actions that would cost up in his life she wrote.
His sacrifice was driven by -- Today we are honored to be joined by -- mother Vanessa.
And his father Larry.
Please stand -- lesson.
We're joined by the families of the seven other patriots who also gave.
Their lives that day can we please have -- -- so we're gonna -- them as well.
We're joined by members of Bravo troop.
Whose courage that day was driven.
-- -- -- We -- to present.
The medal of honor.
One of these soldiers.
Staff sergeant -- L -- which.
There's our nation's highest military decoration.
Reflects the gratitude of our entire country.
And so we're joined by members of congress.
Leaders from across our armed forces including secretary of defense Leon Panetta chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Army secretary John McHugh and army chief of staff general Ray Odierno.
We are especially honored to be joined by -- fourth infantry division.
-- horse soldiers.
And members of the medal of honor society who today welcome you into the -- Now.
Despite all this attention you may already have a sense that Clinton is a pretty humble guy.
We just spent some time together in the Oval Office.
He grew up in the lake city California.
Population less than a hundred.
We welcome his family including mom and dad petition -- -- I hope -- Doesn't mind you shared that -- was actually born at home.
These days Clinton works in the oil fields of north -- -- He is a man of faith.
And -- for more than a decade in uniform he says the thing he looks forward to the most is just being a husband.
And a follow.
In fact this is not even the biggest event for Clinton this week.
Because tomorrow he and his wife Tammy will celebrate their thirteenth wedding anniversary.
-- and -- this probably not the kind of intimate anniversary you plan.
But we're so glad your peer along with -- your three beautiful children.
Desi -- and Colin Colin is not as shy as -- He was -- -- Oval Office and he was -- around pretty good.
And sampled the number they Apple's.
Before it found.
The one that was just right.
To truly understand extraordinary actions for which plan is being -- you -- understand.
Almost unbelievable conditions under which he would be troops are.
This was time in 2009.
When many of our troops.
But still served in small rugged outposts.
Even as our commanders were shifting their focus to larger towns and cities.
Combat outpost Keating was a collection of buildings.
Of concrete -- plywood -- trenches and sandbags.
Of all the outposts in Afghanistan Keating was among the -- most remote.
It's set at the bottom Steve valley surrounded by mountains.
Terrain that a -- investigations that gave ideal cover.
For insurgents to attack.
-- Keating investigation found was tactically.
That's what these soldiers were asked to do.
Defend the indefensible.
The attack came in the morning just as the sun -- Some are guys were standing guard most like -- were still sleeping.
The explosions shook them out of their beds and sent them rushing for the weapons.
And soon -- -- awful lot became clear.
These 53 Americans were surrounded by more than 300.
-- -- fighters.
What happened next has been described as one of the most intense battles.
Of the entire war in Afghanistan.
The attackers had the advantage the high ground the mountains about.
And they were unleashing everything they had.
Rocket propelled grenades heavy machine guns.
Mortars snipers taking -- To those Americans down below the fire was coming in from every single direction.
They've never seen anything like.
-- gunfire impacting all around.
Clinton's -- to one of the barracks and grabbed a machine go.
He took aim at one of the enemy machine teams and took it out.
Rocket propelled grenade exploded sending sharp at all shrapnel.
Into his -- his arm and his -- But he kept fighting.
Disregarding his own wounds intending to an injured comrade instead.
Over the radio.
Came words -- soldier ever wants to hear.
Enemy in the wire.
The talk about have penetrated the -- There were taking over buildings.
The combat was close at times as close as ten feet.
When Clinton took aim at three of them.
They never took another step.
But still the enemy advance so the Americans pulled back to buildings -- -- -- defense to make one last stand.
One of them was later.
To the -- one of them later compared to bail.
-- it seemed it was going to be overrun and that's when plan.
Roma should decide to retake that -- Clinton gathered up his guys and they begin to fight their way back.
Storming one bill then -- up pushing the enemy back having to actually shoot up.
-- the enemy in the mountains above.
By now most of the camp was on fire.
Amid the flames and smoke.
Klan stood in the doorway in calling in airstrikes that shook the earth all around.
Over the radio they her comrades were pinned down in a humvee.
So Clinton this team on -- everything they had into the enemy positions and would back cover three wounded Americans made their escape.
Including a grievously injure staff and makes.
But more Americans.
Their bodies were still up.
And Clinton -- shape lives the soldier's creed.
I will never leave a fallen -- So he and his team started charging.
As enemy fire poured down.
And they kept charging fifty meters eighty meters ultimately a hundred meter -- through a hail of bullets.
They reached their fallen friends.
And abrupt -- Throughout history.
The question has often been asked.
Why -- thought.
-- -- those in uniform take such extraordinary risks.
And what compels them to -- -- Yes Clinton any of these soldiers were here today it'll tell you yes they fight.
For their country and they fight for our free.
As they fight to come home.
For their families.
Most of all they fight for each other.
To keep each other safe.
And have each other's backs.
I called -- somebody would receive this medal he said he was honored but.
He also said it wasn't just me out there was a team effort and so today.
We also honor this American team.
Including those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Private first class Kevin -- -- would have turned 46.
Years old today.
Sergeant Michael -- Sergeant Joshua Kirk.
Sergeant Christopher -- Staff sergeant Justin sales.
Staff sergeant Vernon Martin.
Sergeant Joshua -- Specialist.
Stephan -- Each of these patriots.
Gave their lives looking out for -- up.
In the battle raged all day that brand of selflessness was displayed again and again.
Soldiers -- exposing themselves to enemy fire to -- comrade to safety.
Tending to each other's wounds.
Performing -- transfusions giving each other their own -- If you seek a measure of that day you need to look no further than the medals ribbons.
That -- their chests.
For -- sustained heroism 37.
Army commendation medals.
Further woman's 47 purple hearts.
For their valor.
Eighteen bronze stars.
For -- gallantry.
Nine silver stars.
These men were outnumbered and outgunned.
And almost overrun.
Looking back one of them said I'm surprised any of us made of that.
But they are here today.
And -- Nazi soldiers this band of Brothers.
To stand and except the gratitude of our -- -- -- -- Just from cop -- One of them is that our troops should not.
Ever be put in a position where -- have to defend.
That's what these soldiers did for each other and sacrifice driven by -- Because they did.
A grieving families.
Released able to welcome their soldiers home one last.
More than forty American soldiers are alive today to carry on.
-- keep alive the memory of their fallen Brothers.
Make sure that his country that we love so much remains strong and -- What wasn't that turned the -- that -- How wants it but so few Americans prevailed against so many.
As we prepared for the reading of the citation.
I'll leave you with the words of -- self.
Because they say something about our army and they say something about America -- Six -- about our spirit which will never be broken.
We were going to be beat that -- -- that.
You're not gonna back down in the face of adversity like that.
We were just gonna win.
Plain and simple.
Got mustard when -- said.
And all of your team.
God bless all who serve.
God bless the United States -- her.
-- -- I'd like.
The citation to be -- The president.
Of the United States of America.
Authorized by act of congress march 3 1863.
Has awarded in the name of congress.
The medal of honor.
The staff sergeant Clinton -- -- shape united states army.
For conspicuous gallantry and -- -- the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
Staff -- Clinton hill -- -- distinguished himself by acts of gallantry an -- rapidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
While serving as a section leader with Bravo troop third squadron 61 cavalry regiment.
Fourth brigade combat team fourth infantry division during combat operations against an armed enemy at combat outpost -- -- district terrorist -- province Afghanistan.
On October 3 2009.
On that morning staff sergeant Roman -- his comments -- to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex.
Employing concentrated fire from -- -- rifles rocket propelled grenades.
Anti aircraft machine guns mortars and small arms fire.
Staff sergeant Roma -- moved -- covered under intense enemy fire to conduct reconnaissance of the battlefield.
And -- reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant Gunner.
Staff sergeant -- -- took out an enemy machine gun team and while engaging a second the generator he was using for cover was struck by rocket propelled grenade.
Inflicting him with shrapnel wounds.
Undeterred by his injuries staff sergeant Roma -- continue to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant -- He again rushed through the -- avenue to assemble additional soldiers.
Staff sergeant Roman -- then mobilize the five man team and return to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle.
With complete disregard for his own safety staff sergeant -- -- 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 outposts perimeter.
While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield staff sergeant Roman -- maintained radio communication with the tactical operation center.
As the enemy forces attacked with even greater ferocity unleashing a barrage of rocket propelled grenades and recoil -- rifle rounds.
Staff sergeant -- -- identified the point of attack and directed -- support to destroy over thirty enemy fighters.
After receiving reports that seriously injured soldiers.
Read a distant battle position staff sergeant -- -- and his team provided covering fire to allow the injured soldiers to safely reach the aid station.
Upon receipt of orders to proceed to the next objective his team push forward 100 meters.
And -- overwhelming enemy fire to recover and prevent the enemy fighters from taking.
The bodies of their following comments.
Staff sergeant Roman shades heroic actions throughout the day long battle over critical in suppressing an enemy that far greater numbers.
His extraordinary efforts gave Bravo -- the opportunity to regroup reorganize and prepare for the counter attack.
That allowed the -- to count for its personnel and secure combat outpost Keating.
Staff sergeant Roman -- disciplines and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty.
Reflect great credit upon himself probable -- third squadron 61 cavalry regiment.
Fourth brigade combat team.
Fourth infantry division.
And the united states army.
Let us Brett.
-- almighty god we have gathered to give recognition.
To spirit them in our country great.
Willingness to give totally of ourselves.
Give him to death.
The great blessings of being a part of this country.
The -- example.
Of staff sergeant Roman -- Brings to our lives we give you facts.
He was led to our army for a few short years.
We were deeply blessed by his presents.
-- ancestors inspired his service.
He inspired generations to greater service and devotion.
In your strength we protect others.
New Providence we be kept safe.
-- return our hearts towards you each and every day we got this in pregnant holy name.
Well thank everybody.
Most of all thank you for -- And the entire team for their extraordinary service and devotion to our country.
We're gonna have an opportunity to.
And there's going to be a wonderful reception I hear the food around here's pretty good.
I know that I don't ban is good and column really needs to get out.
Enjoy everybody give.
Give our newest star recipient move medal of honor.
A big round of applause once again.