By ALEX ASHLOCK
Only six Medals of Honor have been awarded for bravery during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of them posthumously.
The latest will be awarded Thursday at the White House when the family of Army Sgt. First Class Jared Monti accepts his from President Obama.
On June 21, 2006, Monti, who grew up in Raynham, Mass., was with his unit on a remote ridge in Afghanistan. They were low on food and water, in the 100-degree heat, but the supply drop exposed their location, and they were ambushed by insurgents.
During the firefight, Pvt. Brian Bradbury was wounded. Monti, who had taken cover behind some rocks, was on the radio calling for artillery support, yelled to Bradbury, who was about 30 feet away, that he was coming to get him.
Monti tried once, but the fire was too heavy and he had to scramble back. He tried a second time, but again the fire was too intense and he scrambled back behind the rocks.
On his third attempt, a rocket-propelled grenade blew his legs off and he died. He was 30.
Pvt. Bradbury also died later. He and an Army medic fell to their deaths when they were being hoisted up into a helicopter.
Jared’s father, Paul Monti, of Raynham, says he wasn’t surprised by his son’s actions that day. “Jared was the kind of kid who never gave up,” he says. “It wasn’t in his vocabulary. He couldn’t have lived with himself if he hadn’t done that.“
Paul Monti, along with Jared’s mother Janet, his sister Nicole and a brother, Timothy, will be in Washington for the Medal of Honor ceremony. Mr. Obama called the family personally to tell them Jared would receive the award. Paul Monti says it’s fitting, but the day will be extremely bittersweet.
“I would much rather have my son here than anything in the entire world,” he says. “There is nothing any one could give me that would take the place of my son, not a billion dollars, not a castle, not anything. I want my son back and I know I’ll never have that.”
Jared Monti was the kind of soldier who would give up his leave so a fellow soldier could go home and see his family. He joined the Army right out of high school, when he was 18. He had been in the Army for 12 years, and he was on his second tour in Afghanistan when he was killed.
“I want my son remembered for the humanitarian he was,” his father says. “I do not want him remembered for the G.I. Joe, the Rambo, the solider with a rifle in his arms killing people. That wasn’t him. He was a humanitarian and that’s the way I want him remembered.”
This program aired on September 14, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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