The president announced last night he would honor Army Staff Sgt. Robert Miller with the nation's highed award for valor-- only the third such Medal of Honor given to an Afghan vet since 9/11.
Army officials said Miller’s unit was supporting an Afghan Border Police security patrol in the Chenar Khar Valley in Kunar Province when they were ambushed by Taliban fighters hiding in nearby buildings. The unit called for close-air support to bomb an insurgent position, but were attacked again when they moved in to survey the damage.The thing that perplexes us at Kit Up! is that there have been only three MOHs bestowed on US service members from the Afghan fight, and all of them have been posthumous -- as is Millers.
Miller’s team captain was seriously wounded. Fellow Soldiers said as he was moved to safety, Miller remained at the front of the patrol and continued to lay down suppressive fire on multiple insurgent positions, ultimately saving his commander’s life, officials said.
Even after being wounded by enemy machine-gun fire, Miller, 24, continued to fire his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and throw grenades into Taliban positions. Army officials said his courage enabled his teammates and the Afghan security forces to gain cover and return fire
Why is that?
Our good friend Gordon Lubold who writes for Politico's Morning Defense Blog noted that Gates had ordered a report into the nominating and award process to answer that very question. And only four US troops have been honored with the MOH from the Iraq front. All of those were killed as well.
Is this a political move by Congress an administration to keep a living person from being a spokesman for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is it because some people feel that person in such a media saturated era would face huge life-changing obstacles with that kind of notoriety? I don't know. But reading Miller's heroics, it doesn't seem to me like there isn't a live trooper out there who did similar things...Brian Chontosh?
UPDATE: In the third MOH announcement this week, the Obama administration has leaked that the first living trooper to be awarded the distinction since 9/11 will be Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta. Hmmm, three MOH announcements in one week? Strange...