Today we celebrate a true American hero who is being recognized for his amazing actions in battle. Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha is set to receive the Medal of Honor for valorous actions in the Afghanistan war. He is only the 7th serviceman to recieve the prestigious honor in the Afghanistan or Iraq Wars.
It was during the battle for COP Keating, one of the most famous attacks in the entire Afghanistan war, that Romesha went above and beyond the call of duty and earned his Medal of Honor. Here’s more about the Battle of COP Keating from MilitaryTimes:
Hero of COP Keating Battle to Receive MoH
By Michelle Tan – Staff writer
Posted: Friday Jan 11, 2013
Romesha was a section leader in B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during the Oct. 3, 2009, attack on Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan.
Eight American soldiers were killed and two dozen others wounded in the battle as the troop-sized element fought against an overwhelming enemy force that launched a brazen attack to overrun the COP.
The attack on COP Keating remains one of the deadliest attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan and is chronicled in the book “The Outpost” by Jake Tapper.
|…cont’d from above
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.