North Dakota man to receive Medal of Honor
This May 2009 photo provided by the Mace family, taken by Army Spec. Stephan Mace at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, shows the base on low ground, surrounded by craggy outcroppings, that made the location difficult to defend. Mace and seven other soldiers were killed Oct. 3, 2009, when Keating was attacked by several hundred militant fighters. / AP Photo/Stephen Mace
WASHINGTON President Barack Obama next month will bestow the Medal of Honor on a former active duty Army staff sergeant from North Dakota for "courageous actions" in Afghanistan in 2009.
The White House says Mr. Obama will give the nation's highest military decoration for valor to Clinton Romesha for his actions while serving as a section leader during combat operations against an armed enemy at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province.
Romesha will join Obama at the White House for the Feb. 11 ceremony.
On Oct. 3, 2009, nearly 300 insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed a pair of remote outposts near the Pakistan border, killing eight U.S. soldiers and capturing more than 20 Afghan security troops in one of the deadliest assaults of the war.
The Medal of Honor citation states, despite his own injuries and "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."
As the attack on the compound became even more ferocious, Romesha directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters, provided covering fire for wounded comrades to reach an aid station, and also ran under "withering fire" to retrieve the bodies of dead soldiers.
U.S. troops used artillery, helicopter gunships and airstrikes to repel the attackers, which NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said included a mix of "tribal militias," Taliban and fighters loyal to an al Qaeda-linked militant based in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border. "Heavy enemy casualties" were inflicted, according to a NATO statement.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Romesha, who was a section leader with the 4th Infantry Division's Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, left the Army in April 2011 after nearly 12 years of service.
He lives in Minot, N.D., with his wife and three children.
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