The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.
Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.
January 11, 2013
President Obama to Award Medal of Honor
On February 11, 2013, President Barack Obama will award Clinton L. Romesha, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.
Staff Sergeant Romesha will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions 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 October 3, 2009.
He will be the fourth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.
February 11, 2013
Remarks by the President in Presentation of the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha
1:40 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. And on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.
Every day at the White House we receive thousands of letters from folks all across America. And at night, upstairs in my study, I read a few. About three years ago, I received a letter from a mom in West Virginia. Her son, Stephan, a Specialist in the Army, just 21 years old, had given his life in Afghanistan. She had received the condolence letter that I’d sent to her family, as I send to every family of the fallen. And she wrote me back. “Mr. President,” she said, “you wrote me a letter telling me that my son was a hero. I just wanted you to know what kind of hero he was.”
“My son was a great soldier,” she wrote. “As far back as I can remember, Stephan wanted to serve his country.” She spoke of how he “loved his brothers in B Troop.” How he “would do anything for them.” And of the brave actions that would cost Stephan his life, she wrote, “His sacrifice was driven by pure love.”
Today, we are honored to be joined by Stephan’s mother Vanessa and his father Larry. Please stand, Vanessa and Larry. (Applause.) We’re joined by the families of the seven other patriots who also gave their lives that day. Can we please have them stand so we can acknowledge them as well. (Applause.) We’re joined by members of Bravo Troop whose courage that day was driven by pure love. And we gather to present the Medal of Honor to one of these soldiers — Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha.
Clint, this is our nation’s highest military decoration. It reflects the gratitude of our entire country. So we’re joined by members of Congress; leaders from across our Armed Forces, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marty Dempsey, Army Secretary John McHugh, and Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno. We are especially honored to be joined by Clint’s 4th Infantry Division — “Iron Horse” — soldiers, and members of the Medal of Honor Society, who today welcome you into their ranks.