WASHINGTON — With the war in Afghanistan about to grind past another milestone, President Barack Obama is awarding the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to an Army Green Beret killed two winters ago when his patrol was ambushed by the Taliban.
The parents of Staff Sgt. Robert Miller were scheduled to accept the nation's highest award for valor in an East Room ceremony.
The 24-year-old Miller, a native of Harrisburg, Pa., was leading a nighttime patrol of U.S. and Afghan troops in Kunar province near the Pakistan border on Jan. 25, 2008, when a much larger force of insurgents opened fire.
Comrades who survived the battle say Miller continued advancing, firing and hurling grenades, even after he was wounded twice in the chest, pinning down enemy troops as he sought to rescue the others.
"He displayed immeasurable courage and uncommon valor — eventually sacrificing his own life to save the lives of his teammates," a White House statement said.
Miller is the third U.S. service member to receive the Medal of Honor for the Afghanistan conflict.
Thursday is the ninth anniversary of the bombardment that began the post-9/11 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Since then, more than 1,200 U.S. troops have perished in the conflict, and this year is already the deadliest yet. Afghanistan is America's longest war since Vietnam.
In August, the troop surge Obama ordered last December to reverse Taliban gains reached its peak. Currently, U.S. troop strength numbers just under 95,000.
While vowing not to let Afghanistan became a haven for al-Qaida, Obama has set a deadline of next summer to start drawing down U.S. forces and handing responsibility to Afghan troops.
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