Ryan M. Pitts

Ryan M. Pitts
Ryan Pitts portrait.jpg
Official portrait of SSG Pitts in July 2014
Born (1985-10-01) October 1, 1985 (age 34)
Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 2003–2009
Rank Army-USA-OR-06.svg Staff Sergeant
Unit 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Awards Medal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal ribbon with "V" device, 1st award.svg Bronze Star Medal w/V
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
Spouse(s) Amy Pitts

Ryan Pitts (born October 1, 1985) 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]



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 service

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 Honor

Initially Pitts was recommended to receive a Distinguished Service Cross.[7] Pitts was awarded the medal on July 21, 2014, for actions on July 13, 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 life

Pitts lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, with his wife Amy and 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 decorations

Military awards

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

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Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Award numeral 4.png
Pathfinder.gifUnited States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg

Medal of Honor citation

A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

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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 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 also