Medal of Honor Recipient Clint Romesha: ‘Unless You’ve Put on the Uniform and Gone Over There, You’ll Never Truly Know’ What War on Terror Is Like

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha appeared on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon to talk about the experiences chronicled in his book Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor.

Romesha was at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan on October 3, 2009, with 52 other U.S. soldiers when more than 400 Taliban fighters came calling. Bannon compared the ensuing fourteen-hour battle to the 300 Spartans holding Thermopylae against the Persian Empire, saluting Romesha and his fellow troops for their “valor in the face of overwhelming odds.”

Romesha said he wrote the book to share the stories of those with whom he served.

“The intent of doing Red Platoon wasn’t to do a story of what old Sgt. Romesha did, but what the men of Red Platoon did, and tell the stories of the eight men who can no longer tell theirs, who are no longer here to do that,” he said.

Romesha added that he hoped to “give people a snapshot of what happens overseas in combat – what happens when stuff gets really bad, but yet that teamwork, and just knowing that you’ve got your brothers to your left and right, are gonna rally behind and do their jobs, and you’re going to step up and overcome anything that you’re faced with.”

He said:

I look back at that day, and I might have gotten selected to wear the medal, but the eight men that didn’t make it home, the 52 other Americans that were serving right alongside me – the heroism I got to see, not just that day, but multiple days in combat – that’s who I wear it for. For those great men and women.”

Romesha worried that Americans suffered from “kind of a short-term memory loss” regarding “what’s going on over there, what soldiers do nowadays,” and the brutal determination of the terrorist enemy.

“This conflict that’s been going on is probably the most disconnected from those that have served and those who haven’t,” he said, adding:

Less than one half of one percent of those in this country have put on the uniform, in the global war against terrorism, where if you look back to World War II, over sixteen percent were serving, and then everyone back in the U.S. at that time was supporting the war effort.

“That was part of the motivation for doing Red Platoon,” he said, “to capture the stories of these guys. I hope more veterans come out and tell their stories of what they’ve been through, to share and convey that message, and a little bit of that history gets passed on those that don’t quite grasp.” He went on to state:

It’s one of those things that, unless you’ve put on the uniform and gone over there, you’ll never truly know, but hopefully you can kind of understand and appreciate it a little more by hearing these stories, by remembering the sacrifice that was given, so you can come home and sleep in a nice, warm, comfortable bed every night, kind of wrapped up in what we call the blanket of freedom of America.

Romesha said the politics of the War on Terror don’t matter, when you’re “over there.”

“What matters is those battles to your left and right, those men and women you serve with to your left and right,” he said, then added:

It doesn’t matter where you came from back in the states, your religion, creed, or anything. It’s knowing you’ve got an amazing team that’s right there, well-trained, gonna have your back no matter what. That’s the motivation for being there, and doing that. And it’s the motivation of the families back home, knowing they’re taking care of us back here. They give us the inspiration to make sure we do everything for each other, to return home.

Bannon asked Romesha if he saw a “kernel of the new Greatest Generation” in the young soldiers he served with, refuting the popular impression of millennials as lazy and self-absorbed.

“I’d have to absolutely agree with that,” he replied, continuing:

As a general rule of thumb, I can see how the attention that’s given right now with the millennials, and their mentality, their attitude, can look as the “entitlement generation,” but I served with young kids – 18, 19, 20 years old – that day, that absolutely stepped up, put on their big boy pants, and understood what that service and sacrifice was.

“That really gives me hope, to know that there are those out there that’ll have it in their hearts to understand what freedom is, to understand what service is, what sacrifice is, and will be willing to do it time and time again,” said Romesha.

He announced that Sony Pictures has optioned Red Platoon for a movie adaptation, although he cautioned that “Hollywood is Hollywood, so there’s no guarantee that it’ll actually get made.”

Romesha said the mother of one of the eight men who died at Combat Outpost Keating encouraged him to get the movie made, understanding that, as he put it, “My generation is not huge on reading,” so a filmed version of the story would “touch so many other people.”  

He confessed he was “kinda bad at” social media, but his publisher has created a Facebook page for Red Platoon, providing a resource for readers who would like to meet him during his book tour.   

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.




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