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Veteran awarded Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan

President Obama told former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts, who received the Medal of Honor on his second wedding anniversary, that it will be hard "topping this one."
By Frances Burns   |   July 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 21 (UPI) -- An Army veteran who survived an attack in Afghanistan that killed nine of his comrades received the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony Monday.

Ryan Pitts, who rose to the rank of staff sergeant, got the medal on his second wedding anniversary. His wife and their 1-year-old son were in the audience.

Obama read the names of Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling, the soldiers who died on July 13, 2008, in Wanat.

"It is remarkable that we have young men and women serving in our military who day in and day out are able to perform with so much integrity, so much humility and so much courage," Obama said. "Ryan represents the very best of that tradition. And we are very, very proud of him."

Pitts, wounded in the attack, helped direct air strikes.

Obama also joked about Pitts' anniversary.

"It's going to be tough topping this one, as anniversaries go," Obama said, although he told Pitts he should try.

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