Then-Staff Sergeant Monti was killed June 21,
2006, after making several attempts to rescue a fellow soldier
who had been wounded during a battle with Taliban insurgents,
and ultimately died, in Gowardesh, Afghanistan, near the border
posthumously promoted to sergeant first class. His name is
slated to be enrolled among other Medal of Honor recipients at
the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes following a ceremony in the
Pentagon auditorium tomorrow.
Obama presented the award to Monti's parents, Paul and Janet
Monti, during a ceremony in the White House's East Room. The
ceremony was attended by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Navy
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; newly
confirmed Army Secretary John McHugh; and other senior
Monti, a native of Raynham, Mass., was 30
years old at the time of his death. He was assigned to the 10th
Mountain Division's 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade
Combat Team, based at Fort Drum, N.Y. He enlisted in the Army in
March 1993 and trained as a forward observer for artillery.
The fallen soldier, Obama said, was a kindhearted, persistent
young man who had befriended those in need at home and also
helped others during his overseas military duty.
Monti “was the soldier in Afghanistan who received care
packages, including fresh clothes,” Obama said, “and gave them
away to Afghan children who needed them more.”
The fallen soldier had been rejected several times for a slot on
his high school basketball team, Obama said. But, he added,
Monti persisted and ended up on the varsity basketball squad.
Monti rose to noncommissioned officer rank in the Army, Obama
said, where he was engaged in “caring for his soldiers and
teaching his troops.”
Deeply held values and love for his fellow soldiers, Obama said,
caused Monti to risk his life on a rocky ridge in Afghanistan,
where Monti's 16-man patrol was attacked by 50 Taliban
Monti quickly called in artillery support, Obama said. And then,
he said, the young NCO did something beyond military training
when he saw that one of his soldiers was wounded and in danger.
“Jared Monti did something no amount of training can instill,”
Obama said. “His patrol leader said he'd go, but Jared said:
‘No. He is my soldier; I am going to get him.'”
Monti twice braved massive enemy rifle and rocket fire in
attempts to reach his wounded comrade who was lying on the
ground some 20 yards away, Obama said. Forced to turn back and
taking shelter behind a rock, Monti contemplated his next move.
He decided to give it another try.
“Faced with overwhelming enemy fire, Jared could have stayed
where he was behind that rock,” Obama observed. But, he said:
“That was not the kind of soldier Jared Monti was.”
Monti embodied the Soldiers Creed, Obama said, some precepts of
which include: “‘I will always place the mission first. I will
never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a
Emerging from safety from behind his rock, Monti for the third
time attempted to reach his fallen troop, Obama said, when he
himself was fatally wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Monti's last words, according to Obama, were: “I've made peace
with God; tell my family that I love them.”
The NCO's final charge was witnessed by his patrol leader, who
later commented that “‘it was the bravest thing I had ever seen
a soldier do,'” Obama said.
Nearly 3,500 people have earned the Medal of Honor since it was
established during the Civil War. The medal is awarded to
servicemembers who distinguishe themselves conspicuously by
gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while:
- Engaged in an action against an enemy
of the United States.
- Engaged in military operations
involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
- Serving with friendly foreign forces
engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force
in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
The meritorious conduct must involve great
personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly
distinguish individuals above their comrades and must have
involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the
performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation
for the award must be considered on the standard of