On #MedalofHonorMonday, we recognize U.S. military hero U.S. Army SSG (Ret.) and MOH Recipient Ryan Pitts.

On July 13, 2008, Marine Sgt. Ryan Pitts and his fellow paratroopers were stationed at Observation Post Topside in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, providing perimeter security. In the predawn darkness, they detected potential insurgents nearby. Suddenly, over 200 insurgents initiated a coordinated attack with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, and small arms, outnumbering the 48 U.S. service members at the post.

Insurgents hiding in a nearby creek bed launched grenades at Topside, causing casualties including Pitts, who sustained serious shrapnel wounds. Despite significant blood loss and inability to stand, Pitts refused to surrender Topside. He took charge, returning fire and strategically timing grenade throws to prevent them from being hurled back.

Continuing to engage the enemy, Pitts exchanged his machine gun for an M4 with a grenade launcher. Eventually, he found himself alone on Topside as all others had either perished or retreated. Crawling to the northern radio position, Pitts maintained communication with commanders, whispering vital information while under imminent threat from insurgents just beyond a nearby sandbag wall.

Pitts’ unwavering courage and resourcefulness prevented the insurgents from overrunning the observation post, which would have granted them a strategic advantage to inflict significant damage on the main base and capture soldiers within it. His actions under dire circumstances exemplified exceptional bravery and commitment to the mission, ultimately saving lives and thwarting a potentially devastating outcome.

On July 24, 2014, Pitts received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony. He is one of 13 living recipients to have fought in Afghanistan.