Two Medal of Honor recipients are donating their medals to the division they both served under.
Clint Romesha and Florent Groberg, both former 4th Infantry Division soldiers, are offering the medals to the Fort Carson, Colorado-based division as a way to show that the medal belongs to every soldier.
The medals will be donated during a ceremony at Fort Carson on Thursday, and Groberg will present both of them because Romesha is unable to attend. The ceremony is part of the division’s centennial celebration.
Romesha, a former staff sergeant with B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, told Army Times the idea to donate the medals came up at an event both he and Groberg were attending several months ago.
The two former Fort Carson soldiers were talking about how former Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta offered his Medal of Honor in July to the brigade he served with.
“The medal is bestowed upon the individual, but it’s really all the guys, girls, anybody who’s ever served,” Romesha said, adding that donating the medals is a way to not just say that, but to show it.
When troops receive the Medal of Honor for acts of valor, they usually credit their fellow service members. Former Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta took that sentiment one step further last week when he offered his Medal of Honor to the brigade he served with, according to CNN.
Romesha received the Medal of Honor in 2013 for his actions during the 2009 battle at Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan that lasted 12 hours. Eight American soldiers were killed, and two dozen others were wounded as the element fought against an enemy force of about 300 that launched an attack to overrun the outpost.
Despite suffering shrapnel wounds when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near him, Romesha continued to fight, exposing himself to enemy fire as he destroyed multiple targets. He also directed air support that took out more than 30 enemy fighters, provided aid to his fellow wounded soldiers, and recovered those who had been killed.
"Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor," is Clint Romesha's tribute to his fellow soldiers.
“Truly, it was a team fight that day,” he said. “There were so many other guys that I believe deserve the medal also.”
Donating his medal to the 4th ID is a small way to show that, he said.
“It also belongs to all of those that have ever put on the uniform — it’s their medal,” Romesha said. “I got selected to wear it, but it’s everyone’s.”
Groberg received the Medal of Honor in 2015 for his actions in 2012 in Afghanistan as he led a personal security detachment for the command team of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Retired Capt. Florent A. Groberg on Thursday became the nation's newest Medal of Honor recipient.
As the patrol made its way to a meeting with a provincial governor, Groberg saw a man dressed in dark clothing walking backward. When the man turned toward the patrol, Groberg ran toward him and pushed him away from the 28 personnel in the group. He then noticed the man was wearing a suicide-bomb vest under his clothes, but Groberg continued to push the man away.
The man fell to the ground, and then the bomb detonated, wounding Groberg in the process.
‘A HOME FOR ME’
Romesha said the Fort Carson community still means a lot to him.
“I spent most of my time with 4th ID,” he said. “It was a home for me for so many years.”
Even though he can’t attend the ceremony, he said he still knows he has a home there.
“I’ve been out since 2011, and it’s still the same,” Romesha said. “The technology, the equipment … certain things change like that. But the core of the soldier, the values. That spirit and those values are there no matter if it was a week ago or 20 years from now.”
Romesha made a surprise trip to the Army post in October, and he said it’s great to know there are still people wearing the uniform and taking up the fight every day.