Former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts departed Tuesday from the unwritten but strict terminology surrounding the Medal of Honor in paying tribute to the soldiers who fought alongside him in Afghanistan.
Those who earn the nation’s highest award for valor are invariably called “recipients,” and never “winners.” However, Pitts said “I will never view myself as a recipient, but always a caretaker” of the Medal of Honor.
“It is ours, not mine,” Pitts said of the Medal. “We did it together” in beating back an attack on their remote outpost in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, Pitts said.
“There is a responsibility that comes with this award,” Pitts said at a packed ceremony in the Pentagon’s auditorium at which he was inducted into the military’s “Hall of Heroes.”
The responsibility was to the memory of those who fought the “Battle of Wanat” on July 13, 2008, and especially to the nine soldiers who were killed and 27 others who were wounded, Pitts said