- Recipient: Clint Romesha
- Branch: U.S. Army
- Combat: War on Terrorism (Afghanistan)
- Value: Courage
In the early morning hours of October 3, 2009, surrounded by 300 Taliban fighters, Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha braved ferocious gunfire, shrapnel wounds, and limited protective coverage to help his troop secure Combat Post Keating in Afghanistan—exhibiting extraordinary courage when it counted most.
History of heroism
Born into a lineage of military service, Staff Sergeant Romesha understood the weight of the uniform he wore, and the courage required to represent his country. His maternal grandfather, a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of Normandy, and his father, a Vietnam War veteran, had taught him the meaning of selfless service, even when the odds seemed stacked against you. And on that formidable October morning, their lifelong lessons were put to the test.
Troop Bravo’s bravery in battle
As dawn broke over the high ground, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his fellow soldiers found themselves surrounded on all four sides. Enemy fighters attacked Bravo Troop with an unrelenting hailstorm from recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars, and small arms fire. Despite the danger, Staff Sergeant Romesha moved across the battlefield, without cover, assessing the situation and rallying reinforcements from the nearby barracks.
Moments after Staff Sergeant Romesha eliminated one enemy machine gun team, and began to engage a second, the generator he was using as limited coverage was destroyed by a rocket-propelled grenade. Injured, but still courageous, Staff Sergeant Romesha rushed across the battlefield to gather more soldiers. With a sniper rifle and a small team of five brave men, Staff Sergeant Romesha took out target after target—even facing down three Taliban fighters who had breached the outpost’s defenses.
Soon, enemy pressure increased, blanketing the battlefield in shocks and shells. But Staff Sergeant Romesha’s fearless leadership rose to the moment. Under the deafening chaos of gunfire and grenades, he identified the enemy’s key point of attack, directed air support to the holding, and neutralized over 30 Taliban fighters.
That strategic move began to turn the tide of the battle, but the day was far from over. After receiving reports that several seriously injured soldiers were trapped in a distant battle position, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his team put their lives on the line again, providing covering fire that allowed the injured soldiers to reach the aid station.
Finally, after hours of exhausting fighting, Staff Sergeant Romesha received his final orders—to brave 100 meters of unrelenting enemy fire to reach and recover their fallen US soldiers before enemy fighters took them away. Once again, Staff Sergeant Romesha proved himself a hero, pushing forward to meet his objective and recover his fallen comrades, despite persistent enemy attacks.
Staff Sergeant Romesha’s courage lives in all of us
On that October day, Staff Sergeant Romesha’s courageous actions against an outnumbering force allowed Bravo Troop to regroup, reorganize, and mount a powerful counterattack.
Staff Sergeant Romesha’s story is a timely reminder that deep courage lives inside every one of us. In the face of overwhelming odds and a seemingly insurmountable challenge, this is the very courage that drives us to stand firm, fight on, and protect those standing beside us. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s unforgettable actions inspire us to find our courage, face our battle head-on, and let our bravery light the way forward.