Academic journal article Military Review

Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts: Medal of Honor Operation Enduring Freedom

Academic journal article Military Review

Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts: Medal of Honor Operation Enduring Freedom

Article excerpt

Former Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a 21 July White House ceremony for his actions at Wanat Village, Afghanistan, on 13 July 2008.

Pitts and eight other paratroopers had occupied Observation Post Topside overlooking Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, adjacent to Wanat. About 200 enemy fighters attacked the base just after 4 a.m., focusing on key weapons systems and positions, including Topside. Two soldiers at the observation post were killed during the initial attack. The remaining seven were wounded.

With shrapnel wounds to his legs and his left arm, Pitts continued to fight for more than an hour, repelling the insurgents first with hand grenades, then with a machine gun, and then with a grenade launcher. Maintaining radio contact, he directed artillery fire on targets around the base and later directed attack helicopters sent to provide close air support.

At one point in the fight Pitts found himself alone in the observation post, but he never gave up. Eventually reinforcements arrived and the critically wounded Pitts was medically evacuated. …

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