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Ryan M. Pitts

Ryan Pitts is a former United States Army soldier, and is the ninth living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the War in Afghanistan.[1][2]

Ryan M. Pitts
SSGT Pitts half body shot.jpg
Born 1985 (age 32–33)
Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank Army-USA-OR-06.svg Staff Sergeant

US Army 2nd BN-503rd Inf Reg Flash.svg503 Inf Rgt DUI.gif

2nd Battalion 503rd Infantry
173AirborneBCTCSIB.jpg 173rd Airborne Brigade

War in Afghanistan

Awards Medal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
Spouse(s) Amy Pitts



Pitts grew up in Mont Vernon.[3] As a child, in kindergarten, Pitts wanted to join the Army.[4] In 2003, he graduated from Souhegan High School.[5]

Military serviceEdit

Pitts joined the United States Army in 2003, and attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Sill. After completing training Pitt was assigned to 319th Field Artillery Regiment until 2005; afterwards he was assigned to 503rd Infantry Regiment until 2009.[6] During his time in the Army, Pitt deployed twice; Afghanistan in 2005 for 12 months, and Afghanistan in 2007 for 15 months.[6]

Medal of HonorEdit

Initially Pitts was recommended to receive a Distinguished Service Cross.[7] Pitts was awarded the medal on 21 July 2014, for actions on 13 July 2008, during the Battle of Wanat.[8] As part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Sgt. Pitts served as a Forward Observer. Along with Salvatore Giunta and Kyle J. White, Pitts is the third recipient of the Medal of Honor from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment. Pitts was medically discharged in 2009.[2][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Pitts lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, with his son, Lucas.[9] Pitts graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester with a bachelor's degree in Business.[6] He works in business development for Oracle.[2][10] In 2015, Pitts was proclaimed as "New Englander of the Year" by his alma mater.[11] Pitts describes himself as a "private" individual, who doesn't enjoy the limelight.[12]

Awards and decorationsEdit

Military awardsEdit

Staff Sergeant Pitts' awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor, Bronze Star Medal w/ "V" Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/ three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral "4", NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Combat Action Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Parachutist Badge as well as 2 service stripes and 4 Overseas Service Bars.[13]

Pitts receiving the Medal of Honor from President Obama

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Forward Observer in 2d Platoon, Chosen Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler in the vicinity of Wanat Village, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008.

Early that morning, while Sergeant Pitts was providing perimeter security at Observation Post Topside, a well-organized Anti-Afghan Force consisting of over 200 members initiated a close proximity sustained and complex assault using accurate and intense rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire on Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. An immediate wave of rocket-propelled grenade rounds engulfed the Observation Post wounding Sergeant Pitts and inflicting heavy casualties. Sergeant Pitts had been knocked to the ground and was bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds to his arm and legs, but with incredible toughness and resolve, he subsequently took control of the Observation Post and returned fire on the enemy.

As the enemy drew nearer, Sergeant Pitts threw grenades, holding them after the pin was pulled and the safety lever was released to allow a nearly immediate detonation on the hostile forces. Unable to stand on his own and near death because of the severity of his wounds and blood loss, Sergeant Pitts continued to lay suppressive fire until a two-man reinforcement team arrived. Sergeant Pitts quickly assisted them by giving up his main weapon and gathering ammunition all while continually lobbing fragmentary grenades until these were expended.

At this point, Sergeant Pitts crawled to the northern position radio and described the situation to the Command Post as the enemy continued to try and isolate the Observation Post from the main Patrol Base. With the enemy close enough for him to hear their voices, and with total disregard for his own life, Sergeant Pitts whispered in radio situation reports and conveyed information that the Command Post used to provide indirect fire support.

Sergeant Pitts' courage, steadfast commitment to the defense of his unit and ability to fight while seriously wounded prevented the enemy from overrunning the Observation Post and capturing fallen American soldiers, and ultimately prevented the enemy from gaining fortified positions on higher ground from which to attack Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts' extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade and the United States Army.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sparshott, Jeffrey (23 June 2014). "President Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. Ryan Pitts". Washington Wire - WSJ. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Army staff sergeant will receive Medal of Honor for valor at Wanat | Army Times". 23 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Heilshorn, Greg (August 2014). "Reluctant Hero Ryan Pitts". New Hampshire Magazine. McLean Communications. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  4. ^ "Obama to award Medal of Honor to Nashua man". WCVB. Boston. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  5. ^ Ashlock, Alex (21 July 2014). "New Hampshire Veteran Receives Medal Of Honor". WBUR. Boston. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c Herbert, Paul (7 August 2014). "Medal of Honor Recipient Ryan Pitts". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  7. ^ Lamothe, Dan (23 July 2014). "Little-known details emerge about Ryan Pitts Medal of Honor case". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 
  8. ^ a b "President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor" (Press release). 23 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Medal of Honor goes to soldier 'who held the line'". 21 July 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2017. 
  10. ^ Adwar, Corey (20 May 2015). "See What Medal Of Honor Recipient Ryan Pitts Told Graduating Students During A Commencement Speech". Task & Purpose. Grid North Company. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  11. ^ "In the News: Medal of Honor Recipient and Alumnus Ryan Pitts Receives New Englander of the Year Award". Campus News. University of New Hampshire at Manchester. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  12. ^ Clark, James (20 May 2015). "Ryan Pitts On Why Even The Most Painful War Stories Should Be Shared". Task & Purpose. Grid North Company. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  13. ^ "Medal of Honor: Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts" (Press release). 23 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Remarks by the President at Presentation of the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts". The White House. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 

External linksEdit