Pitts discusses teamwork, selfless service during prayer breakfast

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing/PA
Medal of Honor recipient and New Hampshire native Ryan Pitts, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant was the guest speaker at the Commander's Annual Prayer Breakfast here, April 12, 2015.

"I'm always very honored and humbled at the opportunity to speak with other service members at events like this one," said Pitts. "I always tell my wife I feel more comfortable doing event's like this because these are my people."

Maj. Gen.William N. Reddel III, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard, introduced Pitts during the event, and spoke about the humility that symbolizes the Medal of Honor.

"Never call them a 'winner' because there is no contest for the nation's highest award and those who wear it do so for their brothers and sisters -- especially the ones who didn't make it back," said Reddel. "In fact, Ryan doesn't call himself a recipient; he calls himself a caretaker of the Medal of Honor for them."

During his speech, Pitts provided attendees with an account of the Battle of Wanat, specifically about teamwork and service before self, core tenants of the military.

"July 13, 2008 was the worst day of my life -- but it was also the most amazing," said Pitts.

"While I've been recognized, it was a team effort," said Pitts. "I didn't carry the day. I was just trying to keep up with everyone else around me."

As Pitts spoke, he motioned to a large poster displayed in the corner which depicted his fallen comrades.

"I'm not special, those nine guys over there are," he said as he read off their names. "They died so the rest of us could come home."

He reiterated the common theme of selfless service and the bond of brotherhood that he shared with his fellow soldiers.

"There was valor everywhere not just by those guys but by everyone," he said.

He talked about how he considered the others around him more important.

"We were a family, and like family, we didn't necessarily have to like each other we but we loved each other and that's what motivated us that day," Pitts said.

Pitts used his combat experiences to stress the importance of teamwork.

"So when you focus on the mission, and when you focus on people, there's nothing that we can't accomplish," he said.

Pitts is one of 38 New Hampshire residents to have been awarded the Medal of Honor, including Capt. Harl Pease Jr.

To learn more on the Medal of Honor and a complete list of others awarded it, visit www.cmohs.org/ To learn more about Pitts, visit www.army.mil/medalofhonor/pitts/profile/index.html.