Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti Receives Medal of Honor From President Obama

by Daniel Russ on September 18, 2009

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti

In a solemn ceremony conducted in the White House’s Palm Room today, President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti. This was Obama’s first award of the nation’s highest military honor since becoming commander-in-chief, and the sixth Medal of Honor awarded since Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama presented the award posthumously to Monti’s parents, Paul and Janet. Monti’s brother, sister and niece were also in attendance along with the Pentagon’s highest military leaders and prominent lawmakers including Sen. John Kerry (D) and Rep. Barney Frank (D), both from Monti’s home state of Massachusetts.

“Does the average American really grasp the meaning [of the Medal of Honor]?” President Obama asked during his remarks. “Do they know what it means to serve? Jared Monti did.”

Monti was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Drum, N.Y. He was killed June 21, 2006, in a firefight in Gowardesh, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

Monti was part of a 16 man team inserted into the area to recon the approaches for a larger assault. On the evening of June 21, just three days before the larger assault was to take place, the team was ambushed by about 50 insurgents with rocket propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and small arms.

Monti called in artillery fire from an exposed position but realized before the rounds impacted that one of his Soldiers, Pfc. Brian Bradbury, lay wounded in the impact area. He exposed himself to heavy enemy fire three times before finally reaching Bradbury, but he was struck by an enemy RPG and killed.

“On his third attempt, Staff Sgt. Monti took several lunging steps through withering fire towards his wounded Soldier before an RPG exploded in his path,” President Obama said. “Monti fell mortally wounded only a few meters from Pfc. Bradbury.”

“Monti spoke briefly with the members of the patrol, telling them he had made his peace with God,” Obama said. “He then asked [a fellow NCO] to tell his parents that he loved them. Shortly thereafter, he fell silent.”

The official citation states that Monti’s actions “inspired the patrol to fight off the enemy force.” Some time later the enemy withdrew. The Americans had prevailed.

According to the biography posted at the Jared C. Monti Memorial Fund, Sgt 1st Class Monti enlisted in the U.S. Army March 1993, and attended basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla., earning his Military Occupational Specialty of 13F (Forward Observer). His military honors include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals and three National Defense Service Medals.

He was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class.

By official definition the Medal of Honor is awarded to servicemembers who “distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in military action against an enemy of the United States.” The medal has been presented to 3,447 men and one woman since President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law Dec. 21, 1861.

Monti is the sixth servicemember to receive the Medal of Honor for service since 9/11, and the first Soldier to receive the nation’s highest military honor as a result of operations in Afghanistan. The fact that all of these have been presented posthumously has raised concerns from veterans and at least one lawmaker — Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.).



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