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BY THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The Medal of Honor that was placed around the neck of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha by President Obama earlier this year is an award that symbolizes teamwork.
On "First Look with Scott Cox" Monday, Romesha talked about the morning of Oct. 3, 2009 at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, when everything changed.
"I was still in bed when rounds and rounds just started surrounding us, enemy fire literally raining 360 degrees around us," Romesha said.
During the fight, the perimeter of COP Keating was breached by the enemy, and pushing back seemed like a daunting task for all 52 soldiers.
Romesha knew he had to step up and use his training in order to save his comrades, so he asked for volunteers to reach the American outpost that would later be deemed "tactically indefensible."
"Five guys followed me, and we were able to recover our post with the help of the Air Force air support," he said.
Romesha received the nation's highest decoration for valor in combat at a White House ceremony on Feb. 11. Another soldier involved in that battle, Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, received his own Medal of Honor on Monday at the White House. He and Romesha are two of just five living veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to receive the citation.
After returning home from Afghanistan, Romesha was asked by a writer if he would share his story and write a book on the events that unfolded that day.
Romesha said he was hesitant to talk about it but knew he had to write it in memory of those soldiers who don't make it back home.
"We live in a nation that forgets what their veterans have done, and that is a nation that is lost, so this is for them," Romesha said.
Romesha, a native of Lake City, was deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
An autographed copy of "Medal of Honor Operation Enduring Freedom" will be raffled tonight at A Night of Honor, an event presented by the California Veterans Assistance Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing housing and supportive services to homeless, at-risk and low-income veterans throughout Kern County.
Romesha will be at the DoubleTree Hotel at 6 p.m. General admission is $60 per person or $100 for VIP admission that provides the opportunity to meet and talk with Romesha.
Cocktails and a silent auction begin at 6 p.m. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.
As of Monday afternoon, about 30 tickets were left. For information, call the foundation at 695-3626.