St. Thomas Academy honors 2 alums, students hear from Medal of Honor recipient in Veterans Day assembly

In honor of those who have served, Minnesota’s only all-male military leadership school hosted a Veterans Day assembly Wednesday.

The students there heard from three American heroes at St. Thomas Academy. The event featured Clinton Romesha, a former U.S. soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Romesha, a 39-year-old former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, is one of just a few living Medal of Honor recipients. He stood before the cadets Wednesday to talk about leadership.

“The best leaders I ever had, they showed from example what a good leader looked like,” said Romesha. “They didn’t tell you what a good leader was.”

Two former St. Thomas Academy students were also recognized for their distinguished military careers. One was Jeremy Harris, a U.S. Navy Reserve Pilot and former lieutenant. The other was Captain Benjamin Piehl, a U.S. Air Force B-1 weapons officer and instructor pilot.

“To be here now, 17 years after graduating and to still be able to come here and share in the expertise of others and to learn, I think, is an amazing experience,” said Harris.

“I would like to thank the teachers of the school and this institution,” Piehl said. “You guys are really the ones who worked tirelessly for four years and continue to work tirelessly to install the values, principals and moral compass in us so that we can do what we do after here.”

Wednesday, both Harris and Piehl were awarded the Academy’s Fleming Alumni Veterans Medal. The award is named after Captain Richard Fleming, who was the recipient of the Medal of Honor nearly 80 years ago.