Ryan Pitts, Medal of Honor Recipient (Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland)

Ryan Pitts, Medal of Honor Recipient (Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland)


Before sunrise, July 13th, 2008 Northern Afghanistan. A small band of US Army paratroopers take their positions around their vehicle patrol base VPB Kahler near the Afghan village of Wanon. These men of chosen company, were less than two weeks from the end of their 14th month deployment. On a ridge near the main base was a small observation post -dubbed OP topside – manned by nine paratroopers. As the early light began to peak over the mountains, the men at Kaler noticed suspicious activity in the high ground just west of the Village. A machine-gun burst out from a building to the north. At that, the entire valley erupted in fire from multiple directions. It was 4:20 a.m. The paratroopers immediately realized they were under a full-scale assault for more than 200 insurgents, who were now raining fire on 48 Americans. The massive first volley had devastated topside, killing two and wounding the remainder. The bloodied survivors needed to rally fast or be overrun. Among the survivors at topside was a 22-year-old Sergeant, Brian Pitz. His legs have been peppered by grenade shrapnel and his left arm wounded. Bleeding heavily, he only survived thanks to the quick action of his brother in arms, Corporal Jason Bogar, who applied a tourniquet to his leg. In my platoon, I was the fort observer so I was tasked with controlling artillery, if we had an attack aviation come in, I would interact with the attack aviation. We were kind of supposed to be using a little bit more eyes and ears out to see a little bit more of what was going on. And the valley just erupted in fire. I was hitting both legs, my left arm, left hip, and a little bit in my forehead. Honestly I was shell-shocked when it first happened because I was standing up trying to locate some potential enemy location and just everything blew up around me, and I kind of I got tossed and I came to and just was just very disoriented for a couple of minutes. And we can tell what the amount of fire coming in that this is going to – no one can sit this out. I had never been in a fight before where anybody had to fight wounded. Generally, all our guys there was enough – we had enough control of the fight and enough guys on the ground that you know, the wounded would be able to stop and can get treated and this just really wasn’t the case. Sergeant Pitts crawled to the north end of Topside and began tossing grenades at the enemy. His tactic of cooking off the grenades, letting the fuse burn for several seconds before throwing them, put himself at great danger, but prevented the insurgents from throwing grenades back at the wounded soldiers before they detonated. Which allowed Pitts to call in a situation report to his company commander. He forced himself to his knees and manned Topside’s machine gun – firing directly into the enemy’s position. Minutes later, Lieutenant John Brostrom and Corporal Jason Hovater braved direct fire to race from the main base to Topside, to reinforce its desperate defense. They relieved the badly wounded Sergeant Pitts, who then continued to man the radio and call in fire support. Suddenly, all outgoing fire from within Topside went silent and the enemy’s guns and shouts we’re the only sounds Pitts could hear. The reinforcing soldiers had all been killed. It just sounded quiet – there was a lot of gunfire coming out of the observation post and so I crawled around. I didn’t want to yell out in case the enemy you know – if I was the only one there and I crawled around and realized that you know everybody was was gone. Everybody had been killed or had to fall back. And so it was at that time that I got on the radio and called down to the main vehicle control base and they can hear the enemy talking over the radio. I told them I needed support because I was the only one that couldn’t leave. You know told them. And they were close. I mean, I was trying to whisper – to talk to him. My buddy Brian Hisong down there, a good friend of mine, it was our second tour together. He you know, it was wasn’t even any sort of response – just immediately started shooting and laying down fire over the top of the sandbags. And then You know the guys down at the vehicle patrol base hearing that I was alone up there and that I was wounded and that I couldn’t leave the enemy. One of the guys Specialist Jacob Sones was just like, “We got to get up there,” and he linked up Israel Garcia and got together with Sergeant Shawn Samburu and Mike Deten at the same location where Hissong was and they made a push up to the observation post. They actually engaged an enemy shooting into the observation post as they were coming up it. Those guys came up there, and they saved my life. It wasn’t long after they were there though there was another barrage of rocket-propelled grenades that came in and – they were all wounded and Israel Garcia was mortally wounded. Also killed in the battle was 25-year-old Corporal Jason Bogar, whose quick actions at the outset had saved Pitts and allowed him to fight on. Minutes later, attack helicopters arrived to provide close air support. And at 6:15 A.M., after fighting for well over an hour while badly wounded, Sergeant Pitts was medically evacuated from the battlefield. His solitary stand bought U.S. forces precious time in reinforcing the post and calling in air support. Actions to directly help turn the tide of the battle. Everything I did, I was just trying to keep up with the guys around me. They were incredible. I’m the one that got the recognition because I received the award, but like, I know that this isn’t mine. I just was trying to follow everybody else around me. All of these guys did incredible things. The only reason I’m here, the only reason I have a wife, only reason I have kids, only reason all these other guys have kids is because those guys gave everything they had that day. And I’m here because of them. I’m here because of those nine guys. The actions of Ryan Pitts were just one of many examples of American valor that day. The Army’s report on the battle concluded that the individual exploits of bravery are too numerous to document. Yet on July 21st, 2014 he became only the 12th recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor in Afghanistan. Valor was everywhere that day Ryan Pitts said upon receiving the medal. Among the 48 soldiers who stood against overwhelming odds and the nine young Americans who lost their lives in the battle, he accepted the Medal of Honor for them. Vowing to live a life worthy of their sacrifice. In honor of the sacrifice of the fallen heroes of the Battle of Winon may we all strive to live such a life.

6 thoughts on “Ryan Pitts, Medal of Honor Recipient (Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland)

  1. Is he a boy who was kidnapped from Poland at the age of 4? Why did he refused the DNA test when he was asked for it? According to Polish news he is that boy….
    I can't believe he is just sitting quite about it.

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