By Jueseppi B.
President Barack Obama awards Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
This afternoon, former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha received the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House. He’s the fourth living individual to do so.
On Oct. 3, 2009, Romesha was part of a unit attached to Combat Outpost Keating in the northeastern mountains of Afghanistan. In the early morning, while most of the unit was still asleep, they came under attack. Fifty-three Americans found themselves defending a position the Defense Department later “indefensible” from more than 300 Taliban fighters.
It soon became one of the most intense battles in the war in Afghanistan.
“With gunfire impacting all around him,” President Obama said, “Clint raced to one of the barracks and grabbed a machine gun. He took aim at one of the enemy machine teams and took it out. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded, sending shrapnel into his hip, his arm, and his neck. But he kept fighting, disregarding his own wounds, and tending to an injured comrade instead.”
Despite those heroics, the Taliban advanced, and the American defenders withdrew to a single building. They became convinced that their position would be entirely overrun. And then, the President told the audience in the East Room, “Clint Romesha decided to retake that camp.”
“Clint gathered up his guys, and they began to fight their way back,” he said. “Storming one building, then another. Pushing the enemy back. Having to actually shoot up — at the enemy in the mountains above. By now, most of the camp was on fire. Amid the flames and smoke, Clint stood in a doorway, calling in airstrikes that shook the earth all around them.”
Even then, the battle wasn’t over. Romesha and his team covered three of their comrades who were pinned down in a Humvee as they made their escape. Then he led a 100-meter charge, under fire, to recover the bodies of others who had died — rather than leave them to the enemy.
When told he would receive the Medal of Honor, Romesha downplayed his actions — and lauded the efforts of the rest of his team. And as President Obama acknowledged, there were indeed a lot of heroes in Afghanistan that day.
“If you seek a measure of that day, you need to look no further than the medals and ribbons that grace their chests,” he said, “for their sustained heroism, 37 Army Commendation Medals; for their wounds, 27 Purple Hearts; for their valor, 18 Bronze Stars; for their gallantry, 9 Silver Stars.”
By Erin Lindsay February 11, 2013 The White House
On Tuesday, February 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union Address. Once again, we will be streaming an enhanced version of the speech that features graphics, data and stats that highlight the issues the President is discussing on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU. We will also live stream that broadcast through the White House Live App on Facebook, YouTube and our Google+ page.
Immediately following the speech, we’ll be streaming a virtual Q&A live from the White House. During this special “Open for Questions” event, a panel of senior advisors will be answering questions about the President’s address submitted by citizens via Twitter (using the hashtag’s #WHChat & #SOTU), Google+ and Facebook, as well as from the live in-person audience of White House Social participants.
In the days following the speech, Administration officials will continue to take questions on key issue areas addressed in the President’s speech submitted by the public on social media during an “Open for Questions” marathon.
You can submit questions during the event on Twitter (#WHChat & #SOTU), Facebook and Google+ or ahead of time with participating sites. Each “Open for Questions” event will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU. Check out the full line up below.
“Open for Questions” Marathon
Tuesday, February 12th:
10:00 p.m. ET: Post-SOTU “Open for Questions”
- Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council
- Josh Earnest, Principal Deputy Press Secretary (@JEarnest44)
- Sarah Bianchi, Director of Economic and Domestic Policy for the Vice President
- Felicia Escobar, Senior Policy Director for Immigration
- Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy
- Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Policy
Wednesday, February 13th:
- 2:30 p.m. ET: Jobs and the economy with Jason Furman, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, moderated by Yahoo! Finance
- 3:15 p.m. ET: Education with Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education moderated by Babble
- 4:00 p.m. ET: Energy and the environment with Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, moderated by Popular Science.
Thursday, February 14th:
- 4:30 p.m. ET: “Fireside Hangout” with President Obama
Friday, February 15th:
- 3:00 p.m. ET: Reducing gun violence with Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden, moderated by iVillage.
- 4:00 p.m. ET: Immigration reform with Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council
By Tobin Marcus February 11, 2013 The White House
Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Philadelphia to meet with law enforcement officials and hold a roundtable discussion to talk about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence.
Vice President Joe Biden holds a roundtable with law enforcement officials and members of congress on gun safety, at Girard College in Philadelphia, PA, Feb., 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
In addition to Vice President Biden, the roundtable included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Senator Robert Casey, Congressman Robert Brady, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Congressman Chaka Fattah, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and police chiefs and prosecutors from other cities and communities.
In the meeting, the participants discussed the challenges for law enforcement as they work to reduce gun crime. The Vice President pledged to continue the Administration’s fight to put 15,000 police officers on the street – and also argued that there is a consensus growing behind sensible gun safety legislation. He called for getting assault weapons and high capacity magazines off the streets, requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and a federal gun trafficking statute, among other proposals.
Vice President Joe Biden listens as Chief Thomas Hyers of the Springettsbury police department talks about a .223 round, during a roundtable with law enforcement officials and members of congress on gun safety, at Girard College in Philadelphia, PA, Feb., 11, 2013. To Chief Hyers’ right is Chief Scott Thomson of Camden, New Jersey. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
“We can debate some of the things that the President has proposed,” he said. “But there is no common-sense rationale to suggest why we don’t act.” The Vice President reiterated that the message of improving gun safety in America will be “embraced by rural communities as well as urban communities.”
As the meeting came to a close, Commissioner Ramsey called for action, saying, “You see a variety of police chiefs assembled around this table. They are here because they either are dealing on a daily basis or have dealt on a daily basis with the kind of carnage that we see all the time… And it has to stop, and we have to move forward on this.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel After the State of the Union
After Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address, the President will travel to three different communities to discuss proposals, unveiled in the speech, that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and those striving to get there. On Wednesday, February 13th, the President will travel to the Asheville, North Carolina area for an event. On Thursday, February 14th, the President will travel to the Atlanta, Georgia area for an event. On Friday, February 15th, the President will travel to the Chicago area for an event. More details about these events, including time and location, will be released later this week.
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