WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will bestow the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest decoration for battlefield valor, to Ryan M. Pitts, a former Army staff sergeant who fought off enemy fighters during one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghanistan war despite his own critical injuries.
Ryan Pitts of Nashua, N.H., will be awarded the medal during a White House ceremony Monday. Pitts, 28, will become the ninth living recipient of the medal for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The citation says Pitts fought off enemy fighters on July 13, 2008, in Wanat, Afghanistan. Despite losing blood from wounds in both legs and an arm, he continued to fire at about 200 Taliban fighters and guided air strikes that helped repel the attack.
Enlistment date: January, 2003
Unit: Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne),
503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade
Military Occupational Specialty: 13 F – Forward Observer
Deployments: Operation Enduring Freedom VI & VIII, Afghanistan
Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts joined the Army in 2003, at the age of 17 under the delayed entry program. He attended basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Pitts then went to the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, before being assigned as a radio telephone operator for the 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade at Camp Ederle, Italy, from 2004-2005. He remained headquartered at Camp Ederle as part of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Abn. Bde. from 2006 to 2009.
While assigned to the 173rd, Pitts deployed twice to Afghanistan. His first deployment in 2005 lasted 12 months. His final deployment spanned 15 months beginning in 2007. Pitts departed the active-duty Army in 2009.
His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. He currently resides in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he is in business development for the computer software industry.
His military education includes the U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Pathfinder Course, and the Warrior Leader Course.
Pitts’ other awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with bronze clasp and two loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 4 device, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award.