Lake City, California, U.S.
Romesha at his Medal of Honor ceremony in 2013
61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division
Iraq WarWar in Afghanistan
Medal of Honor Bronze Star Purple Heart
Field safety specialist
Clinton LaVor "Clint" Romesha (//; born August 17, 1981) is a former United States Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle of Kamdesh in 2009 during the war in Afghanistan.
Born into a family with a strong military background, Romesha joined the U.S. Army in 1999, and was posted at various times in Germany, South Korea and Colorado. Trained as an M1 Abrams tank crewman, Romesha had seen four deployments, including to Kosovo, Iraq twice, and Afghanistan. On 3 October 2009, he was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, deployed to Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan. When a force of 300 Taliban insurgents attacked the base, Romesha was credited with rallying his comrades and leading the counterattack, directing close air support and providing suppressive fire to help the wounded to an aid station. Despite being wounded, Romesha continued to fight through the 12-hour battle.
Romesha left the Army in 2011 to spend more time with his family. He later took a job in the oil industry in North Dakota. On 11 February 2013, he received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama.
Romesha was born in August 1981 in Lake City, California, to a family with a strong military background. His grandfather, Aury Smith, is a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of Normandy. His father is a Vietnam War veteran who later became a church leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romesha is the fourth of five siblings, including two brothers who also joined the military. He is a member of the LDS Church and attended seminary for four years during high school but ultimately decided not to become a missionary for the church as his family had hoped he would. Romesha grew up in Lake City, where he developed an avid love of hockey.
He married Tamara Romesha on 13 February 2000. They met in junior high school and began dating several years later. The couple have three children; Dessi, Gwen, and Colin. Friends describe Romesha as having a sense of humor and being "intense, short and wiry."
Romesha enlisted in the United States Army in September 1999 and underwent Basic Combat Training and later Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Trained to be an armor crewman for the M1 Abrams tank, Romesha was first assigned as a tank gunner in Company B, 1st Battalion, 63d Armor Regiment, 2d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and posted at Rose Barracks, Germany. During this posting he deployed to Kosovo as part of the Kosovo Force. His next assignment was as a gunner/assistant tank commander with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 72d Armor Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, South Korea. After a former mentor was killed in Iraq, Romesha volunteered for a tour supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom when parts of his unit received redeployment orders.
Next, Romesha was assigned as section leader with Troop B, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. There, he completed the Long Range Reconnaissance Course, the Advanced Leader Course, and Air Assault Training. Trained as a Cavalry Scout, Romesha saw his second deployment to Iraq in this unit.
In May 2009, Romesha's unit deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. His unit was assigned to Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province in Eastern Afghanistan. It replaced the outgoing 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at the remote outpost in the mountains of a semiautonomous area of the country. Keating was located in a valley surrounded by steep mountains, and over the course of the deployment, it came under attack regularly. U.S. commanders opted to close the outpost by October 2009, considering it indefensible. During the deployment, Romesha was given the nickname "Ro" by his comrades. He was noted for his sense of humor and calm temperament in the difficult deployment.
Medal of Honor action
On 3 October 2009, according to a report published by U.S. Army historian Richard S. Lowry, Taliban fighters launched a coordinated attack on the outpost from three sides at about 06:00, capturing its ammunition depot. Some 300 fighters participated in the attack armed with a recoilless rifle, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine guns, and small arms, badly outnumbering the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) presence of about 85 U.S. Army, Afghan National Army and Latvian Army soldiers, and the 35 Afghan soldiers who abandoned their positions. It would later be known as the Battle of Kamdesh.
During the first three hours of the fight, the U.S. troops remained under intense mortar and small arms fire, before the Taliban fighters breached the compound and set fire to it. Romesha moved under heavy fire to reconnoiter the area and seek reinforcements from a nearby barracks, helping the ISAF force to regroup and fight despite being targeted by a Taliban sniper. Romesha led the firefight to reclaim the depot, organizing a five-man team to counterattack while still under fire. He then neutralized one of the Taliban fighters' machine gun teams. While engaging a second, he took cover behind a generator which was struck by a rocket propelled grenade, and Romesha was wounded in the neck, shoulder and arms by shrapnel. Despite being wounded, Romesha directed air support that killed an estimated 30 Taliban and then took out several more Taliban positions himself. He provided suppressive fire to allow three other wounded American soldiers to reach an aid station and then recovered several American casualties while still under fire. Romesha's efforts allowed the troop to regroup and fight off a force superior in numbers. The fight lasted 12 hours, and eight American soldiers were killed, making the engagement one of the costliest for ISAF forces during the war. Nine soldiers were decorated with Silver Star Medals for the fight. Several days later, the ISAF forces withdrew from the post.
Romesha received the award from President Barack Obama in an award ceremony at the White House on 11 February 2013. He is the fourth living Medal of Honor recipient for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (following Salvatore Giunta, Leroy Petry, and Dakota Meyer), and the eleventh overall for these campaigns.
Romesha was only able to contact his wife four days after the battle, and later noted she was greatly upset when hearing the full story of his actions at Kamdesh. In an interview later with Soldiers Live, Romesha said he felt he "was being selfish and not being fair" having volunteered for so many deployments away from his wife and children. Following the Afghanistan deployment, Romesha went through the Army Career and Alumni Program in preparation to separate from the Army. On 4 April 2011, Romesha left the military in order to spend more time with his family.
Following military service, Romesha moved to North Dakota, where his sister lived, to look for a job in the oil industry. He moved to Minot, North Dakota and purchased a 100-year-old, flood-damaged home that he is restoring himself. He took a job at KS Industries, an oil field construction firm. Initially crewing a hydro excavation truck, he went through a driver's training program and later began managing the crews of six other trucks. He currently works as a field safety specialist for KS Industries. His exploits during the firefight were later written about by journalist Jake Tapper in his book, The Outpost.
In a press conference on 16 January 2013 shortly after being notified he would receive the medal, Romesha played down his actions in the conflict, noting many other veterans who had received more serious injuries in the battle. Romesha noted that he did not suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or other lasting psychological injuries from deployment, but that others he knew during the deployment did.
On 11 February 2013, Romesha received the Medal of Honor at a ceremony held at the White House. After receiving the award, when speaking to the press wearing his Stetson, Romesha stated he felt "conflicted" about receiving the medal due to the loss of those who died while serving with him.
In the days following the award, Romesha was recognized in a number of other events. He was inducted into The Pentagon's "Hall of Heroes" on 12 February, and traveled to New York City on 17 February to visit with the cast of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway, hosted by the USO. He was recognized by Governor of North Dakota Jack Dalrymple in an event at the North Dakota State Capitol on 21 February 2013. On 2 March, Romesha spoke at the military ball of the ROTC program at University of North Dakota. Since then Romesha keeps the Medal of Honor on him. It has some tarnish and wrinkles on it from being carried everywhere, shown to and handled by many.
Red Platoon: a True Story of American Valor. Dutton, 2016. ISBN 0525955054
Awards and decorations
During his military career, Romesha received a number of decorations. He is authorized to wear three service stripes, six Overseas Service Bars, as well as the former wartime service Combat Service Identification Badge for the 4th Infantry Division and the Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 61st Cavalry Regiment. Romesha's military decorations include the following awards:
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg NCO Professional Development Ribbon.svg NATO Medal w Służbie Pokoju i Wolności BAR.svg Right Breast Left BreastValorous Unit AwardMeritorious Unit CommendationCombat Action BadgeMedal of HonorBronze Star MedalPurple Heart MedalArmy Commendation Medal w/ two Oak Leaf ClustersArmy Achievement Medal w/ four Oak Leaf ClustersArmy Good Conduct Medal w/ three bronze loopsNational Defense Service MedalKosovo Campaign Medal w/ service starAfghanistan Campaign Medal w/ 2 service starsIraq Campaign Medal w/ three service starsGlobal War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal w/ service starGlobal War on Terrorism Service MedalKorea Defense Service MedalNCO Professional Development Ribbon w/ award numeral 2Army Service RibbonArmy Overseas Service Ribbon w/ award numeral 5NATO Medal for Kosovo w/ service starAir Assault Badge
Medal of Honor citation
Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty 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. On that morning, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms fire. Staff Sergeant Romesha moved uncovered under intense enemy fire to conduct a reconnaissance of the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner. Staff Sergeant 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. 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. Staff Sergeant Romesha then mobilized a five-man team and returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant 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. While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield, Staff Sergeant Romesha maintained radio communication with the tactical operations center. As the enemy forces attacked with even greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless rifle rounds, Staff Sergeant Romesha identified the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. After receiving reports that seriously injured Soldiers were at a distant battle position, Staff Sergeant Romesha 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 pushed forward 100 meters under overwhelming enemy fire to recover and prevent the enemy fighters from taking the bodies of their fallen comrades. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing an enemy that had far greater numbers. His extraordinary efforts gave Bravo Troop the opportunity to regroup, reorganize and prepare for the counterattack that allowed the Troop to account for its personnel and secure Combat Outpost Keating. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
See also Salvatore Giunta Dakota Meyer Leroy Petry Ty Carter William D. Swenson
List of living Medal of Honor recipients
List of Post Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients
References External links
http://www.allamericanspeakers.com/celebritytalentbios/Staff-Sgt.-Clinton-Romesha Biography of Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha
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Minot man to receive Medal of Honor
Ceremony set for Feb. 11 in White House
January 12, 2013
By ELOISE OGDEN - Regional Editor (
firstname.lastname@example.org ) , Minot Daily News Save |
The White House says a former active-duty Army staff sergeant currently living in Minot will be presented the Medal of Honor by President Obama next month for his courageous actions while serving in Afghanistan.
Clinton Romesha, 31, is the fourth living recipient to be presented the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The ceremony will be Feb. 11 in the White House.
Article Photos Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha
The announcement of Romesha's honor was made on Friday, the same day that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama met at the White House to discuss the future of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor and is awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.
"Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha is a true American hero and we are honored to recognize him for receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while serving in Afghanistan," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. "The Medal of Honor is our nation's highest award and we are grateful to Staff Sgt. Romesha for his heroism and sacrifice that day and for his distinguished service to our state and nation. We salute him for receiving this prestigious recognition and for his outstanding contributions in the defense of our homeland and our way of life."
Romesha was section leader with the 4th Infantry Division's Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry, 4th Battalion, at Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, in Afghanistan when the battle occurred on Oct. 3, 2009.
According to U.S. Army information provided by George Wright, deputy director of Media Relations with Army Public Affairs at the Pentagon, here is an account of the incident:
Staff Sgt. Romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms.
Romesha moved uncovered 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.
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.
Undeterred by his injuries, 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.
Romesha then mobilized a five-man team and returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. 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.
While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield, Romesha maintained radio communication with the tactical operations center. As the enemy forces attacked 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 more than 30 enemy fighters.
After learning 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. While subduing enemy fighters in their path, he and his team pushed forward 100 meters under withering fire, to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades.
Romesha's heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing an enemy that had far greater numbers. His extraordinary efforts gave Bravo Troop the opportunity to regroup, reorganize and prepare for the counterattack that allowed the troop to account for its personnel and secure Combat Outpost Keating.
Romesha, who was born in Lake City, Calif., enlisted in the Army in September 1999. His military career includes deploying three times in support of the war on terror, with two tours to Iraq and one tour to Afghanistan. He has also served in Germany, including a deployment to Kosovo, and served in Korea. He left the Army on April 4, 2011.
According to Army information, Romesha, his wife, Tamara "Tami," and their three children Dessi, 11, Gwen, 3, and Colin, 18 months, were living in Pueblo, Colo., and he works as a field safety specialist with an oil-field construction firm. The White House reports the family now lives in Minot.
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