Once upon a time, a small contingent of American soldiers was assigned to man Combat Outpost Keating, situated in a hostile-section of eastern Afghanistan, made all the more dangerous because the outpost was ordered-established, deep in a valley, surrounded by mountains, making our troops vulnerable to higher-ground-attack from day one. That inevitable, culminating-battle finally came in early October, 2009, when mortar-fire and an enemy force of over 300 rained-down on our isolated troops and a few Afghan Army colleagues. An intense firefight ensued, throughout which our steadfast-soldiers displayed extraordinary courage, determined not to be over-run, despite being severely outnumbered. When the firing stopped, and the Taliban-insurgents were dispatched, either to home or hell, eight brave Americans had perished, and many more wounded. Nine soldiers were awarded the Silver Star for combat valor that day.
From amidst that carnage, two American warriors earned the Medal of Honor, now among the five living, and seven posthumous-recipients, from our extended conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back in February, Staff-Sergeant Clint Romesha received his Medal of Honor, and has left the service. Then, on Tuesday of this week, Staff-Sergeant Ty Carter received his distinctive blue-ribboned, top-medal for valor, from the President in D.C. Sergeant Carter remains in the Army, and in fact, had previously-deployed for a second tour in Afghanistan. For the full-story of these, and many other troops, placed deep within harm's-way from day-one, Jake Tapper's excellent book, The Outpost, recounts the determined and amazing stand of our incredibly courageous soldiers.