Clinton Lavor Romesha MOH

b. 17/08/1981 Lake City, California.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 03/10/2009 Outpost Keating, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.

Clinton L Romesha MOH

Romesha was born on August 17, 1981 in Lake City, Modoc County, California, to a family with a strong military background. His maternal grandfather, Aury Smith, is a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of Normandy. Romesha grew up in Lake City, where he developed an avid love of ice hockey.

His father, Gary, is a Vietnam War veteran who later became a church leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romesha is the fourth of five siblings, including two brothers who also joined the military. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attended seminary for four years during high school but ultimately decided not to become a missionary for the church as his family had hoped he would. In 1999, Romesha graduated from Surprise Valley High School in Cedarville, California.

Romesha enlisted in the United States Army in September 1999 and underwent Basic Combat Training and later Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Trained to be an armor crewman for the M1 Abrams tank, Romesha was first assigned as a tank gunner in Company B, 1st Battalion, 63d Armor Regiment, 2d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and posted at Rose Barracks, Germany. During this posting he deployed to Kosovo as part of the Kosovo Force. His next assignment was as a gunner/assistant tank commander with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 72d Armor Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, South Korea. After a former mentor was killed in Iraq, Romesha volunteered for a tour supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom when parts of his unit received redeployment orders.

Next, Romesha was assigned as section leader with Troop B, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. There, he completed the Long Range Reconnaissance Course, the Advanced Leader Course, and Air Assault Training. Trained as a Cavalry Scout, Romesha saw his second deployment to Iraq in this unit.

In May 2009, Romesha’s unit deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. His unit was assigned to Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province in Eastern Afghanistan. It replaced the outgoing Blackfoot Troop, 6th Squadron 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Task Force Duke) at the remote outpost in the mountains of a semiautonomous area of the country. Keating was located in a valley surrounded by steep mountains, and over the course of the deployment, it came under attack regularly. United States commanders opted to close the outpost by October 2009, considering it indefensible.

During deployment, Romesha was given the nickname “Ro” by his comrades. He was noted for his sense of humor and calm temperament in the difficult deployment. Romesha received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in an award ceremony at the White House on 11 February 2013. He is the fourth living Medal of Honor recipient for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (following Salvatore Giunta, Leroy Petry, and Dakota Meyer), and the eleventh overall for these campaigns.

Romesha was only able to contact his wife Tammy four days after the battle, and later noted she was greatly upset when hearing the full story of his actions at Kamdesh. In an interview later with Soldiers Live, Romesha said he felt he “was being selfish and not being fair” having volunteered for so many deployments away from his wife and children. Following the Afghanistan deployment, Romesha went through the Army Career and Alumni Program in preparation to separate from the army. On April 4, 2011, Romesha left the military in order to spend more time with his family.

Following military service, Romesha moved to North Dakota, where his sister lived, to look for a job in the oil industry. He settled in Minot and purchased a 100-year-old, flood-damaged home that he is restoring himself. He took a job at KS Industries, an oil field construction firm. Initially crewing a hydro excavation truck, he went through a driver’s training program and later began managing the crews of six other trucks. He currently works as a field safety specialist for KS Industries. His exploits during the firefight were later written about by journalist Jake Tapper in his book, The Outpost.

In a press conference on January 16, 2013, shortly after being notified he would receive the medal, Romesha played down his actions in the conflict, noting many other veterans who had received more serious injuries in the battle. Romesha noted that he did not suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or other lasting psychological injuries from deployment, but that others he knew during the deployment did.

On February 11, 2013, Romesha received the Medal of Honor at a ceremony held at the White House. After receiving the award, when speaking to the press wearing his Stetson, Romesha stated he felt “conflicted” about receiving the medal due to the loss of those who died while serving with him.

In the days following the award, Romesha was recognized in a number of other events. He was inducted into The Pentagon’s “Hall of Heroes” on February 12, and traveled to New York City on February 17 to visit with the cast of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway, hosted by the USO. He was recognized by Governor of North Dakota Jack Dalrymple in an event at the North Dakota State Capitol on February 21, 2013. On March 2, Romesha spoke at the military ball of the ROTC program at University of North Dakota. Since then Romesha keeps the Medal of Honor on him. It has some tarnish and wrinkles on it from being carried everywhere, shown to and handled by many. 

In 2016, Romesha’s book Red Platoon was published recounting the Battle of Kamdesh. That same year the rights to a movie based on the book were optioned by Sony Pictures; by December 2017 a script had been written and a director was assigned to the film. Romesha, along with a dozen other veterans, starred in the veteran based zombie film Range 15, portraying fictional versions of themselves.

In December 2017, Romesha and retired Captain Florent Groberg, another Medal of Honor recipient, donated their original Medals of Honor to the 4th Infantry Division, saying “This medal is too big for us.” Romesha was not in attendance at the turnover ceremony. In 2018, Romesha endorsed Republican Kevin Cramer in the 2018 United States Senate election in North Dakota.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Section Leader with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Combat Outpost Keating, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 3 October 2009. On that morning, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms fire. Staff Sergeant Romesha moved uncovered under intense enemy fire to conduct a reconnaissance of the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner. Staff Sergeant 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. Undeterred by his injuries, Staff Sergeant Romesha continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he again rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers. Staff Sergeant Romesha then mobilized a five-man team and returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant 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. While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield, Staff Sergeant Romesha maintained radio communication with the tactical operations center. As the enemy forces attacked with even greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless rifle rounds, Staff Sergeant Romesha identified the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. After receiving reports that seriously injured soldiers were at a distant battle position, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his team provided covering fire to allow the injured soldiers to safely reach the aid station. Upon receipt of orders to proceed to the next objective, his team pushed forward 100 meters under overwhelming enemy fire to recover and prevent the enemy fighters from taking the bodies of the fallen comrades. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing an enemy that had far greater numbers. His extraordinary efforts gave Bravo Troop the opportunity to regroup, reorganize and prepare for the counterattack that allowed the Troop to account for its personnel and secure Combat Post Keating. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.