Bleeding from both legs and his arm, Ryan Pitts kept firing at about 200 Taliban fighters, even holding onto his grenades an extra moment to ensure the enemy couldn’t heave them back. On Monday, President Barack Obama draped the Medal of Honor around his neck, in a somber White House ceremony that also paid tribute to his nine platoon comrades who died that summer day in Afghanistan.
Pitts, a 28-year-old former Army staff sergeant from Nashua, New Hampshire, is the ninth living veteran of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the nation’s highest decoration for battlefield valor. Obama praised Pitts for holding the line as his comrades fell in one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghan war.
“It is remarkable that we have young men and women serving in our military who, day in and day out, perform with so much integrity, so much humility and so much courage,” the president said. “Ryan represents the very best of that tradition.”