MoH Monday: MSgt Earl Plumlee
Master Sergeant Earl Plumlee is a member of the United States Army and a recipient of the United States Armed Forces’ prestigious Medal of Honor. Plumlee earned his award for courageous action during an armed conflict in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, in 2013.
Born into a family of cattle ranchers, Sergeant Plumlee spent his childhood in rural Oklahoma. Early on, he took an interest in military service. While still in high school, Plumlee joined the Army National Guard, with a focus on artillery. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and joined a weapons platoon soon after. He deployed numerous times, serving from Japan to Bahrain and elsewhere. In 2009, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving as a weapons sergeant.
Medal of Honor Action
Eventually, Plumlee deployed to Afghanistan, where he would serve in Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ghazni, a site that housed Air Force service members and Afghan National Police.
On August 28, 2013, enemy bombers launched an attack on the base. The bombers detonated a device that blew a 60-foot hole in the fortress wall, and enemy snipers stormed in, spraying the base with bullets. Plumlee and his fellow servicemembers climbed into a vehicle and drove toward the breach.
Their windshield was immediately hit with bullets, and the soldiers had to duck and weave to avoid casualties. Still, they pressed on, determined to defend the base. Some American soldiers had run toward the enemy snipers on foot, so Plumlee’s driver turned the vehicle to shield them from enemy fire.
Plumlee hopped out, shielding the driver with his own body. He pointed his pistol and fired at the enemy snipers, taking several down and slowing their advancement. Eventually, he killed one of the snipers and ran for cover. Soon after, an attacker detonated a suicide bomb, injuring Plumlee.
Relentlessly, he charged forward, shooting down several of the snipers at close range. Noticing that one of his fellow servicemembers lay bleeding, Plumlee quickly ran back into enemy fire and carried his comrade to safety. Then, he organized a team of three coalition members, and they engaged the enemy until the conflict ended.
Sergeant Plumlee prevented the insurgents from taking over FOB Ghazni and saved countless lives. On December 16, 2021, Preside Joe Biden presented him with a Medal of Honor during a special ceremony at the White House.