Army vet receives Medal of Honor for Afghan fight
President Barack Obama has bestowed the Medal of Honor upon an Army veteran for his courageous leadership during a daylong firefight in Afghanistan.
Obama presented the medal to former Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha on Monday in a White House ceremony attended by the military's top leaders and former Medal of Honor recipients.
Obama recounted in detail the dramatic 2009 battle at an outpost in the mountains near the Pakistan border where U.S. troops were far outnumbered. Romesha was peppered with shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade but fought through his wounds.
Guests at the ceremony wept as Obama read the names of eight Americans who died in the firefight. Obama says U.S. troops fight courageously for freedom, for their country and for their families, but also to keep their fellow troops safe.
"I've had buddies that have lost eyesight and lost limbs," Romesha said in a news conference last month after Obama called to tell him he would receive the award. "I would rather give them all the credit they deserve for sacrificing so much. For me it was nothing, really. I got a little peppered, that was it."
Jake Tapper, a CNN anchor who wrote a book detailing the firefight, said many key officers at the outpost were away the day of the firefight and Romesha rose to the occasion and filled the leadership vacuum. But he says Romesha remains astonishingly humble.
"Everything was just about his buddies and trying to save his fellow soldiers and trying to do everything he could, literally everything he could, at great risk to his own life over and over," said Tapper, author of "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor." ''He's still very broken up about how he couldn't save everyone. He saved lives that day, without question, but eight of the guys died that day and that still tears him up."
Romesha also served twice in Iraq and will be the fourth living Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. It is the nation's highest military decoration for valor.
(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)