Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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War on Terrorism (Afghanistan) - U.S. Army

Earl D. Plumlee

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant (Highest Rank: Master Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: War on Terrorism (Afghanistan)
  • Unit/Command:
    Company C, 4th Battalion,
    1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: August 28, 2013
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Forward Operating Base Ghazni, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee distinguished himself by acts of gallantry above and beyond the call of duty on August 28th, 2013, while serving as a weapons sergeant, C Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in support of Enduring Freedom. Sergeant Plumlee instantly responded to an enemy attack on Forward Operating Base Ghazni—Ghazni Province, Afghanistan —that began with an explosion that tore a 60-foot breach in the base’s perimeter wall. Ten insurgents wearing Afghan National Army uniforms and suicide vests poured through the breach. Sergeant Plumlee and five others mounted two vehicles and raced toward the explosion. When his vehicle was engaged by enemy fire, Sergeant Plumlee reacted instinctively, using his body to shield the driver prior to exiting the vehicle and engaging an enemy insurgent 15 meters to the vehicle’s right with his pistol. Without cover and in complete disregard for his own safety, he advanced on the enemy, engaging multiple insurgents with only his pistol. Upon reaching cover, he killed two insurgents —one with a grenade and the other by detonating the insurgent’s suicide vest using precision sniper fire. Again, disregarding his own safety, Sergeant Plumlee advanced alone against the enemy, engaging several insurgents at close range, including one whose suicide vest exploded a mere seven meters from his position. Under intense enemy fire, Sergeant Plumlee temporarily withdrew to cover, where he joined up with another soldier and, together, they mounted another counterattack. Under fierce enemy fire, Sergeant Plumlee again moved from cover and attacked the enemy forces, advancing within seven meters of a previously wounded insurgent who detonated his suicide vest, blowing Sergeant Plumlee back against a nearby wall. Sergeant Plumlee, ignoring his injuries, quickly regained his faculties and reengaged the enemy forces. Intense enemy fire once again forced the two soldiers to temporarily withdraw. Undeterred, Sergeant Plumlee joined a small group of American and Polish soldiers, who moved from cover to once again counterattack the infiltrators. As the force advanced, Sergeant Plumlee engaged an insurgent to his front left. He then swung around and engaged another insurgent who charged the group from the rear. The insurgent detonated his suicide vest, mortally wounding a U.S. soldier. Sergeant Plumlee, again, with complete disregard for his own safety, ran to the wounded soldier, carried him to safety, and rendered first aid. He then methodically cleared the area, remained in a security posture, and continued to scan for any remaining threats. Staff Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Special Forces Regiment, and the United States Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient Earl D. Plumlee
Medal of Honor Recipient Earl D. Plumlee
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Merritt, Oklahoma
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: December 16, 2021

    Presented by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., at the White House, Washington, DC.

  • Born: April 6, 1980, Clinton, Custer County, OK, US
  • Location of Medal:

Earl D. Plumlee: The Honor Project, "Reflections on Courage"

Earl D. Plumlee: The Honor Project, "Reflections on Courage"

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