Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha was awarded the Medal of Honor this week and, thankfully, it was not a posthumous award. For more than half a century, the Medal was not awarded to a living serviceman. Now, during President Obama’s term in office, that trend seems to be reversing. SSgt Romesha is the fourth living recipient of the past few years.
The previous ten Medal of Honor award-winners were all engaged in fighting either in Iraq or Afghanistan, as was SSgt. Romesha. The stories of their service and acts of courage can be found in Uncommon Valor, Dwight Jon Zimmerman’s and John Gresham’s gripping narrative of men at war and their incredible acts of heroism, courage, and ultimate sacrifice for their fellow soldiers. Eight American servicemen were killed in the battle in October 2009, in which Romesha was wounded yet still managed to delay the advance of the enemy and dodge fire to recover the bodies of his fallen comrades.
In detailing the events of the engagement and listing Romesha’s acts of uncommon valor, President Obama quoted the staff sergeant as saying: “We weren’t going to be beat that day. . . . We were just going to win—plain and simple.”