Clinton Romesha is a former staff sergeant for the U.S. military known for his heroic acts when his outpost stationed in Afghanistan was attacked by Taliban in 2009. During the battle, he took out a machine gun team and selflessly provided cover for fellow wounded soldiers as well retrieved the bodies of the fallen. He is set to be awarded the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, this month. Here’s what you need to know about Sgt. Clinton Romesha.
1. Sgt. Clinton Romesha is to Receive the Medal of Honor
Sgt Clinton Romesha is set to receive the Medal of Honor for his “acts of gallantry and intrepity” during the daylong attack on the American Combat Outpost Keating in 2009 during the War in Afghanistan. Romesha will receive the high military honor at a White House ceremony on February 11.
2. More Than 300 Taliban Attacked His Outpost
More than 300 Taliban attacked Keating from all four sides and from higher ground on the morning of October 3, 2009. The Taliban swarmed the site occupied by 53 Americans and two Latvians with a recoilless rifle, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine guns and rifles. It was reported that mortars hit the outpost every 15 seconds during the first three hours of the attack.
3. He Took Out an Enemy Machine Gun Team
Sgt. Romesha took action. He led the fight to reclaim the outpost, organizing a five-man team while under intense fire. He then neutralized one of the Taliban’s machine gun teams.
4. Romesha Provided Cover for Wounded Soldiers
While trying to neutralize a second machine gun team, he was struck by a rocket propelled grenade and was wounded in the neck, shoulder and arms by shrapnel. Despite his injuries, he took out several more Taliban and aided his fellow wounded soldiers.
“Undeterred by his injuries, Staff Sergeant Romesha continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he again rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers,” his citation says. “With complete disregard for his own safety, (he) continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved confidently about the battlefield engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets.”
5. Eight Soldiers Were Killed in the Battle
Romesha risked his life to recover the eight bodies that were killed that day.
6. He Has Since Left the Military
Romesha left the military in 2011 to spend more time with his family. He lives in Minot, North Dakota where works as a field safety specialist for an oil field construction firm, KS Industries.
7. He Comes From a Military Family
The hero has four siblings, including two brothers who also joined the military as well as a father who is a Vietnam veteran.
“I tried to talk to my children,” Romesha’s father said in an interview. “I told them, just don’t go into the infantry, do something where you get skilled. But they didn’t listen to me. They all went into the infantry,”
8. Romesha is a Husband and Father of Three
9. The Hero is the Fourth Living Soldier to Receive the Medal of Honor for Actions in Afghanistan
The staff sergeant is one of 11 soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. He is the fourth of those 11 to be alive while receiving it. The other recipients were awarded posthumously.
10. Jake Tapper Will Make His Hosting Debut With a Documentary on the Soldier
American journalist Jake Tapper is the anchor of a new CNN weekday program, Jake Tapper Reports, that debuts on Thursday at 10 p.m. and will be featuring a documentary on Romesha called An American Hero: The Uncommon Valor of Clint Romesha. Check out a clip from the special here:
In the past, Tapper also published a book on Romesha’s heroism called The Outpost.