U.S. President Joe Biden will award the Medal of Honor next week to two U.S. soldiers who fought in Afghanistan, the White House said in a statement on December 10.
The two soldiers will be recognized along with a third soldier who fought in Iraq at a White House ceremony on December 16, the White House statement said.
The two soldiers who fought in Afghanistan are Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Celiz, an Army Ranger who died while leading an operation to clear an area of enemy forces in Paktia Province in 2018, and Master Sergeant Earl Plumlee, a Special Forces soldier who fought off Taliban insurgents in Ghazni after an attack in 2013.
Celiz, 32, was wounded by Taliban fighters as he tried to protect a U.S. helicopter evacuating wounded. Though injured, he motioned to the helicopter to depart rather than remain to load him and risk further casualties.
Plumlee was serving at a U.S. base in Ghazni when it came under massive attack after insurgents blew a 18-meter hole in the base’s perimeter wall.
Plumlee and five Special Operations members raced toward the site of the detonation, killing two insurgents, one with a grenade and the other by using precision sniper fire to detonate the insurgent’s suicide vest.
Plumlee, who survived and is currently serving at a Special Forces base in the U.S. state of Washington, also ran to a soldier wounded in the battle, carried him to safety, and rendered first aid.
The third soldier who will receive the Medal of Honor, Sergeant 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35, suffered fatal injuries in Iraq while rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle in 2005.
The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military honor.