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Medal of Honor is highest military honor

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) congratulated Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts of Nashua today on the recognition of his heroism in Afghanistan for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony. Staff Sergeant Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, in the vicinity of Wanat Village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. The battle of Wanat was one of the bloodiest of the Afghan War, killing nine American soldiers and wounding another 27. The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor and is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.

“Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts is an extraordinarily heroic young man who has made New Hampshire proud,” said Shaheen. “We’re all eternally grateful for his service; his selfless and exemplary sacrifice represents the best of the Granite State. I join all of New Hampshire in congratulating him for this incredible, well-deserved honor.”

Staff Sergeant Pitts is the ninth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He enlisted in the Army in August 2003 as a Fire Support Specialist (13F), primarily responsible for the intelligence activities of the Army’s field artillery team. After completion of training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and follow-on parachutist training at the U.S. Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Camp Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, as a radio operator with the 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade where he deployed to Afghanistan. His final assignment was with the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment "The Rock", 173rd Airborne Brigade as a Forward Observer which included a second combat tour to Afghanistan.

His personal awards include the 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 and Parachutist Badge.

Staff Sergeant Pitts was joined by his family at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service. He and his wife currently reside in Nashua where he works in business development for the computer software industry and has a one-year-old son.