President Joe Biden’s administration announced that it was “posthumously” awarding a Medal of Honor on Thursday to a recipient who was not only alive, but standing right next to the president.
“Attention to orders,” said Marine Lt. Col. William Kerrigan, military aide to Biden. “The president of the United States of America, authorized by act of Congress March 3, 1863, has posthumously awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Earl D. Plumlee, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty.”
“As Kerrigan read out the citation, Plumlee stood at attention next to Biden, who proceeded to place the medal around the soldier’s neck,” The New York Post reported. “It was not immediately clear if Kerrigan read the citation incorrectly or if the error was included in the document itself.”
Narrator reading Biden's citation, announces that the Medal of Honor is being awarded to Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee “posthumously.”
Plumlee is very much alive and standing right next to Biden. pic.twitter.com/h1LxmrBwDg
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 16, 2021
The White House offered the following information about Plumlee:
Master Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee will receive the Medal of Honor for his acts of gallantry and intrepidity 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 Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
While deployed to Afghanistan, then-Staff Sergeant Plumlee instantly responded to a complex enemy attack that began with a massive explosion that tore a sixty-foot breach in the base’s perimeter wall. Ten insurgents wearing Afghan National Army uniforms and suicide vests poured through the breach. Staff Sergeant Plumlee and five Special Operations members, intent upon defending the base, mounted two vehicles and raced toward the site of the detonation. The vehicles, now no longer under cover, came under effective enemy fire from the front and right. Using his body to shield the driver from enemy fire, he instinctively reacted, exiting the vehicle while simultaneously drawing his pistol and engaging an insurgent to the vehicle’s right. Without cover and with complete disregard for his own safety, he advanced on the superior enemy force engaging multiple insurgents with only his pistol. Upon reaching cover, he killed two insurgents, one with a well-placed grenade and the other by detonating the insurgent’s suicide vest using precision sniper fire. Again disregarding his own safety, he left cover and advanced alone against the superior enemy force engaging several combatants at close range, including an insurgent whose suicide vest exploded a mere seven meters from his position. Undeterred and resolute, he joined a small group of American and Polish Soldiers, who moved from cover to counter-attack the infiltrators. As the force advanced, he engaged an insurgent to his front left. The wounded insurgent threw a grenade before detonating his suicide vest. Staff Sergeant Plumlee 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. Staff Sergeant Plumlee, with complete disregard for his own safety, ran to the wounded Soldier, carried him to safety, and rendered first aid. He then organized three Polish Soldiers for defense, methodically cleared the area, remained in a security posture, and continued to scan for any remaining threats.
Master Sergeant Plumlee enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in October 1998. Following his high school graduation in May 2000, he was released from the Oklahoma Army National Guard to join the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve from May 2000 to December 2008. Following his separation from the Marine Corps Reserve, Master Sergeant Plumlee enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 5th 2009. He has numerous overseas deployments to include Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently serving as a Senior Weapons Sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis, Washington.