Earl D Plumlee MOH

b. 06/04/1980 Clinton, Oklahoma.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 28/08/2013 Forward Operating Base Ghazni, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.

Earl D Plumlee MOH

Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee was born in Clinton, Oklahoma. He grew up working on his family’s cattle ranch and oil field instrument company. He began his military career by joining the Oklahoma National Guard, serving in the 45th Field Artillery Brigade as a rocket artilleryman (13M) during his junior year of high school. After graduating high school in 2000, Plumlee joined the United States Marine Corps. He attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California and Marine Corps School of Infantry. Plumlee was then assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, located in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where he served his first enlistment in a weapons platoon.

Plumlee deployed to Okinawa, Japan, after the 9/11 attacks occurred. He was sent to Bahrain and served on a Marine Security Element to the 5th Fleet. In 2003, he was deployed to Zamboanga, Philippines, to the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines on Camp Navarro. After returning from this deployment, Plumlee attended the 4th Force Reconnaissance, Recon Indoctrination Program, and was selected to attend the Marine’s Amphibious Reconnaissance Course and became a Basic Reconnaissance Marine. Afterwards, Plumlee attended and graduated from Navy SERE School, Basic Airborne School, the Marine Corps High Risk Personnel Course, and Marine Combat Dive School. Upon returning to the 4th Force Recon, he volunteered for a deployment to Iraq with the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company.

Plumlee was deployed to Iraq’s Al Anbar region, operating from the Al Asad Airfield from August 2005 to February 2006. Upon returning from this deployment, he attended Military Free Fall School. From there, he was promoted to Recon team leader. In 2007, he married his wife, Terrie. Following his wedding, Plumlee volunteered to deploy to Iraq again in 2008. During this deployment, he was selected and recognized as the Marine Corps Recon Team Leader of the Year. After returning from Iraq, Plumlee decided to make a change in his career trajectory and joined the U.S. Army under the 18X program in January 2009. Upon successful completion of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection, he was chosen to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course, where he had the unique opportunity to attend SERE School for a second time.

In 2009, successfully graduated SFQC as a Special Forces weapons sergeant (18B) and was assigned to 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). There, he served in various rotations through the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility. Plumlee deployed to Afghanistan in April 2013, where his unit was tasked with conducting stability operations. Later in this deployment, he was located at Forward Operating Base Ghazni, which was subject to a complex attack on August 28, 2013.

After returning from Afghanistan, Plumlee completed nine months of physical rehabilitation, while continuing to serve in the 4th Battalion, 1st SFG (A).

In 2015, Plumlee was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with the 1st Battalion, 1st SFG (A), where he served in the INDOPACOM-Crisis Response Force. There he served on foreign details for President Obama and President Trump. In 2018, he was selected for promotion to master sergeant and ended his time in Okinawa. He and his family returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where he served in the 1st SFG (A) headquarters. In August 2020, he was selected to become a team sergeant at 3rd Battalion 1st SFG (A), where he continues to serve.

His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, two Navy Achievement Medals, the Combat Action Ribbon, four Army Good Conduct Medals, two Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device, three Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the NATO Medal, two Navy Unit Commendations, the Marine Unit Commendation, the Special Forces Tab, the Marine Corps Combatant Dive Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Military Free-Fall Parachute Badge and the Indonesian Parachutist Badge.

His Silver Star was upgraded to the Medal of Honor, and presented to him by President Joe Biden on December 16, 2021; awarded the same day, posthumously, were Alwyn Cashe and Christopher Celiz.



Staff Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee distinguished himself by acts of gallantry above and beyond the call of duty on August 28th, 2013, while serving as a weapons sergeant, C Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in support of Enduring Freedom. Sergeant Plumlee instantly responded to an enemy attack on Forward Operating Base Ghazni—Ghazni Province, Afghanistan —that began with an explosion that tore a 60-foot breach in the base’s perimeter wall. Ten insurgents wearing Afghan National Army uniforms and suicide vests poured through the breach. Sergeant Plumlee and five others mounted two vehicles and raced toward the explosion. When his vehicle was engaged by enemy fire, Sergeant Plumlee reacted instinctively, using his body to shield the driver prior to exiting the vehicle and engaging an enemy insurgent 15 meters to the vehicle’s right with his pistol. Without cover and in complete disregard for his own safety, he advanced on the enemy, engaging multiple insurgents with only his pistol. Upon reaching cover, he killed two insurgents —one with a grenade and the other by detonating the insurgent’s suicide vest using precision sniper fire. Again, disregarding his own safety, Sergeant Plumlee advanced alone against the enemy, engaging several insurgents at close range, including one whose suicide vest exploded a mere seven meters from his position. Under intense enemy fire, Sergeant Plumlee temporarily withdrew to cover, where he joined up with another soldier and, together, they mounted another counterattack. Under fierce enemy fire, Sergeant Plumlee again moved from cover and attacked the enemy forces, advancing within seven meters of a previously wounded insurgent who detonated his suicide vest, blowing Sergeant Plumlee back against a nearby wall. Sergeant Plumlee, ignoring his injuries, quickly regained his faculties and reengaged the enemy forces. Intense enemy fire once again forced the two soldiers to temporarily withdraw. Undeterred, Sergeant Plumlee joined a small group of American and Polish soldiers, who moved from cover to once again counterattack the infiltrators. As the force advanced, Sergeant Plumlee engaged an insurgent to his front left. He then swung around and engaged another insurgent who charged the group from the rear. The insurgent detonated his suicide vest, mortally wounding a U.S. soldier. Sergeant Plumlee, again, with complete disregard for his own safety, ran to the wounded soldier, carried him to safety, and rendered first aid. He then methodically cleared the area, remained in a security posture, and continued to scan for any remaining threats. Staff Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Special Forces Regiment, and the United States Army.