Medal of Honor recipient to speak at college

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Photo of Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts.

Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts will speak at Casper College Monday, June 7 at 7 p.m. as part of the school’s “Freedom’s Never Free” World War II traveling memorial.

According to Nicholas Whipps, veteran and international student coordinator, Pitts will be speaking on commitment, sacrifice and his time with Chosen Company and its heroic struggle to survive in the mountains of Afghanistan.

“The Casper College Veterans Club members decided to have Sergeant Pitts give a presentation because he embodies service, sacrifice and heroism. It is not often that we get an opportunity to host a Medal of Honor recipient, and we are honored to do so. We believe that on some level, Sgt. Pitts’ story will connect with everyone who attends his presentation.

According to Pitts’ biography, he enlisted in the Army at 17 under the delayed entry program. He reported to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy, after completing basic and airborne training. Pitts served from 2003 until 2009, deploying twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VI and VIII for a combined 27 months.

The biography notes that Sgt. Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan July 13, 2008, when a well-organized Anti-Afghan Force consisting of over 200 members initiated a close proximity sustained and complex assault against 49 Americans occupying Wanat Vehicle Patrol Base. An immediate wave of rocket-propelled grenade rounds engulfed the Observation Post wounding Pitts and inflicting heavy casualties.

Once rescued, Sgt. Pitts spent over a year recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before being medically discharged in 2009.

Pitts’ presentation is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services and the Casper College Foundation. The presentation will take place in the Wheeler Concert Hall, located in the Music Building on the Casper College campus.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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