The most stories about Medal of Honor recipient ¸will leave you completely and utterly speechless, and this is also one of such stories. If you need to describe it in few sentences than it should look exactly like this: A wounded soldier, the last one standing at his base in order to put his life to defend it, fights off 200+ insurgents. This is valor and self-sacrifice on a whole new level. God bless him, the fallen, and all that serve. All gave some, some gave all.
Former Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts, aged 28, is the ninth living veteran of Afghanistan or Iraqi War to receive the US highest military award – a Medal of Honor. The actions worth Medal of Honor occurred in July 2008 when he was manning an observation post that came under direct attack. Though wounded, Pitts held off the enemy with hand grenades and a machine gun.
“In Ryan Pitts you see the humility and the loyalty that define America’s men and women in uniform,” US President Obama said at the White House ceremony. “Of this medal, he says, ‘It’s not mine alone. It belongs to everybody who was there that day because we did it together.'”
The story began on July 13, 2008, when 48 US soldiers including then Sgt. Ryan Pitts was sent to set up a small base in Wanat, Afghanistan. Ryan Pitts and 8 other US soldiers were manning a tiny observation outpost just outside the base, which US President Obama described as “an elevated patch of boulders and sandbags”.
In the pre-dawn darkness, as many as 200 Taliban insurgents unleashed a full-scale attack on the guarded post with machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades, and almost immediately Ryan Pitts and his team were all wounded, some of the severely.
As the militants pressed the attack on his position, Ryan Pitts stand ground and returned fire with hand grenades and a machine gun. At that moment he was already wounded, bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds in the arm and both legs.
After pulling the pins in the hand grenades, Pitts held onto them for several seconds before throwing them toward enemies, to ensure they would explode before they could hurl them back at him. Believing he was about to die, Ryan Pitts helped direct US air strikes to reinforce the defenders, ultimately driving the insurgents back from the base perimeter.
“That little post was on the verge of falling, giving the enemy a perch to devastate the base below,” US President Barrack Obama said. “Against that onslaught, one American held the line.”
When the battle was finished, nine American troops were dead, and that was one of the hardest things to live with for Ryan Pitts.
“Valour was everywhere that day, and the real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home,” Ryan Pitts said. “It is their names – not mine – that I want people to know.”
Ryan Pitts joined the US Army in 2003 at the age of 17, and he was to became an airborne soldier. During his career, he was deployed twice to Afghanistan and retired in 2009 after making a full recovery from his injuries sustained on July 13, 2008.
After retirement, he lives in New Hampshire alongside his wife and son. Ryan Pitts now works in the software industry and enjoying the freedom he once fought and bleed for.