The White House announced ahead of a briefing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today that President Obama will award the Medal of Honor, the highest honor awarded by the U.S. military, to Clinton Romesha (pictured at right), an Army Staff Sergeant, on February 11. Romesha will receive the award for displaying "conspicuous gallantry" in the Battle of Kamdesh, a devastating firefight in northeastern Afghanistan.
The bloody skirmish was instantly described as the "Black Hawk Down" of the War in Afghanistan: during the four-hour-long battle, some 400 Taliban footsoldiersstormed a small Army outpost manned by 53 American soldiers, killing eight of the U.S. troops. The ambush caught soldiers "sitting like ducks," reported the Army Times, before pushing back the Taliban fighters to a surrounding perimeter and then abandoning the area.
Jake Tapper wrote an entire book on the battle and its drama, but in a blog post dated October 31, 2009 military historian and writer Richard S. Lowry detailed how Romesha in particular led his fellow soldiers to protect the outpost's ammunition supply, and finally secure the outpost itself:
Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha led the counterattack to retake the [Ammunition Supply Point]. Once their ammunition supply was secure, the troopers pushed out to clear the compound and take back the main gate. They secured the [Entry Control Point] and barricaded the bridge with plywood, concertina and anything else they could find to insure no one else could get into the [Combat Outpost].