On June 19, President Obama awarded retired Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military honor. With numerous opportunities for American service members to perform bravely during more than a decade spent at war, heroes who are deserving of the honor are not in short supply. On June 23, the White House announced that another living service member will be receiving the Medal of Honor in July.
In a ceremony scheduled at the White House on July 21st , former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts from Nashua, New Hampshire will become the ninth living Medal of Honor recipient.
Staff Sgt. Pitts is being recognized for his gallantry during the Battle of Wanat while serving as Forward Observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. It was Pitts’ second tour in Afghanistan.
On July 13, 2008, approximately 200 Taliban militants attacked a Vehicle Patrol Base near Wanat Village in northeastern Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
According to reports, Pitts was positioned in observation post Top Side, which was separate from the Vehicle Control Base. During the initial onslaught, two paratroopers in the observation post were killed. Pitts and six others were wounded. Pitts received shrapnel wounds in his left arm and in both legs from a grenade.
Despite his injuries, Pitts fought on, defending observation post Top Side and his fellow paratroopers.
In total, nine U.S. paratroopers were killed, and 27 more were wounded during the Battle of Wanat. The battle has been immersed in controversy as three American officers were approved for reprimands for their response in supplying support to the defenders of Wanat Village. The reprimands were later appealed and dropped. The Battle of Wanat has been referred to as the “Black Hawk Down” of the war in Afghanistan.
Along with being the 9th living Medal of Honor recipient, Staff Sgt. Pitts will also be the 16th “Sky Soldier” from the 173rd Airborne Brigade to receive the honor. Sgt. Kyle White was the 15th Sky Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor on May 13th of this year, for his heroics during the Battle of Aranas.
Military Connection congratulates Staff Sgt. Pitts on being named for the nation’s highest military honor, and thanks him for his dedicated service to his country, his unit, and his mission.
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Military Connection: Next Medal of Honor Recipient: By Debbie Gregory