Biden’s dramatic and shifting story about a U.S. soldier’s medal


-I’ve been in and out of
Afghanistan and Iraq 28 times. I’ve been in and out of
Afghanistan and Iraq over 29 times. I’ve been in and out
of Afghanistan and Iraq over 30 times. At the PRT in a makeshift media
room surrounded by rocks, mud, and sand bags, but filled with
flat screens and computers, a two-star general
travelling with us performed an impromptu
award ceremony. He gave a bronze star
to a corporal, who looked to me
to be about 25 years old. I found myself in Iraq being
asked by General Odierno, a four-star, to pin a silver
medal on a young captain. I had been asked
in a foreign-operating base in the middle
of a godforsaken nowhere in the upper Kunar Valley
in Afghanistan to pin a Silver Star on a young,
coincidentally, Navy captain in what they call a FOB —
a foreign-operating base. I pinned medals on — Silver Stars on soldiers
up in the Kunar Valley in the middle of a firestorm
the poor guys had gone through. Young Navy captain —
Navy, Navy — up in the mountains in
the Kunar Valley of Afghanistan. Who had pulled a badly-wounded
gunner to safety, returning fire
to repel the enemy, and then keeping his buddy alive
until Medevac arrived. Who had pulled someone
out of a burning Humvee, risking his life. One of his buddies got shot, fell down a ravine
about 60 feet. This guy climbed down a ravine, carried this guy up
on his back under fire. He had gone down a ravine
to rescue one of his men who had been shot, brought him back
under a hail of gunfire, was wounded,
but the young man died. I know it sounds a little corny, but I don’t think there was
a dry eye in the house. And the general wanted me
to pin the Silver Star on him. And when I went to pin it on him
in front of the entire brigade. I went to pin the Silver Star
for General Rodriguez — pin the Silver Star
on his chest. I got up there,
and this is God’s truth, my word as a Biden,
he stood at attention. I went to pin him. He said, “Sir, I don’t want
the damn thing.” He stood at me, looked at me,
said, “Sir, I don’t
want the medal. I don’t want the medal.” “I don’t want it, sir. He died. He died.
I don’t deserve it.” “Do not pin it on me, sir. Please, sir. Do not do that. He died. He died.” “He died, Mr.
Vice President. I don’t want the medal.” How many nights does that kid
go to sleep seeing that image in his head,
dealing with it?

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