(CBS NEWS) -- President Obama on Monday awarded the Medal of Honor to Clinton Romesha, a
former active duty Army staff sergeant, for his courageous actions
during what Mr. Obama said has been described as "one of the most
intense battles of the entire war of Afghanistan."
Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military decoration and "reflects
the gratitude of our entire country," Mr. Obama told Romesha from the
East Room of the White House, where his entire troop was honored.
the section leader of his troop, at Combat Outpost Keating in
Afghanistan's Nuristan Province, Romesha led a fight against a nearly
overwhelming Taliban attack. On Oct. 3, 2009, nearly 300 insurgents
armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades surrounded the
outpost, where 53 Americans were stationed.
Americans down below, the fire was coming from every single direction,
they'd never seen anything like it," Mr. Obama remarked.
an interview with CBS News correspondent David Martin, Romesha
described the fighting that day as "unreal" and "up close and personal."
After receiving the medal today, Romesha said, "I'm grateful that some
of the heroes of Combat Outpost Keating are here with us. Any one of
them will tell you were were not going to be beat that day."
U.S. soldiers were killed, and more than 20 Afghan security troops were
captured. Romesha suffered his own injuries but nevertheless tended to
his comrades and called in air strikes to attack the enemy. The air
strikes gave some soldiers cover to reach an aid station, while Romesha
retrieved the bodies of fallen soldiers.
Romesha is the
fourth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in
Iraq or Afghanistan. He specifically was serving as a Section Leader
with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat
Team, 4th Infantry Division. He now works in oil field safety and lives
in Minot, N.D., with his wife and three children.