Red Platoon: A true story of American valor

Romesha webCourage, honor, sacrifice, teamwork.

For most of us, those words are rather abstract concepts we seldom contemplate, as we go about our daily routines. But for the members of the Army's Red Platoon in Afghanistan in 2009, those ideals closely bound them together as brothers in combat, in a way few people ever experience.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha will give an insider’s view to not only the conditions of modern military warfare, but the tough decisions he and his comrades faced, as combat wore on. Drawing on his lauded service as a sergeant in the Afghanistan War and on his book, Red Platoon, Romesha will emphasize how a capacity for leadership and bravery resides within every one of us.

Romesha not only reminds audiences of the power ordinary people have for extraordinary bravery, but he remains deeply committed to telling stories of soldiers who served with him, both living and dead. Romesha forges a connection between his audience and soldiers around the world, telling about those who remain unrecognized, but who continue to make tough, brave choices in the service of others.

Romesha is a former U.S. Army staff sergeant, noted for his heroic actions during the Battle of Kamdesh, a key moment during the Afghanistan War. On Oct. 3, 2009, he took quick and selfless action, while under aggressive fire from the Taliban. Despite taking shrapnel wounds to his neck, shoulders and arms, he carried out a counterattack that not only eliminated Taliban fire power, but also allowed for wounded soldiers to be taken to an aid station. Throughout the 12-hour battle, Romesha told himself he was merely doing what any soldier would do for his comrades; everyone else, however, saw him as a hero.

Romesha’s valor and humility have been widely celebrated. In 2013, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama, making him the fourth living recipient of the honor for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the same year, he was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. Since receiving those accolades, Romesha has carried his Medal of Honor with him wherever he goes –- not out of pride, but as a constant reminder that within every single person lie the same qualities responsible for Romesha’s own heroic actions.

His 2016 memoir, Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, was immediately recognized as an instant classic. It is not only admired for providing a clear-eyed account of one of the most crucial battles in recent military history, but also as a powerful account of how one person, committed to doing the right thing, can make a bigger difference than he ever imagined. Romesha revisited the story of the battle that made him a hero in the Netflix original series, Medal of Honor. 

“Combat is not a motivation to hate . . . it’s a motivation to love your brothers.” -- Clinton Romesha

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