Afghanistan War Hero: Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti
Jared Christopher Monti was born on September 20, 1975 in Abington, Massachusetts. He was the son of Paul and Janet Monti. Under the delayed entry program, he enlisted in the National Guard in March of 1993. Monti attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri during the summer before his senior year of high school. He graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School in 1994. After graduation, he switched to active duty and was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
His first deployment sent him to Kosovo, where he served as a staff sergeant. While in Kosovo, Monti was injured in skydiving accident and was offered a medical discharge from the Army. However, he turned down the medical discharge and reenlisted. In 2006, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division and was assigned to Task Force Spartan.
In June of 2006, Staff Sgt. Monti and his 16-man patrol went on Operation Gowardesh Thrust in the Gremen Valley, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan in an attempt to disrupt enemy operations. For three days the patrol moved throughout the mountain observing the enemies known locations. The patrol became low on supplies and a re-supply was scheduled to take place on June 21st. In order to keep the patrol’s location a secret, the re-supply was suppose to take place in conjunction with an air assault into the Gremen Valley. However, The air assault was rescheduled for a different day, but Monti and his team could not wait a few more days for their supplies. The squad was in desperate need of water so the re-supply was scheduled to take place as planned. Monti and the majority of his team went to retrieve the supplies at the drop location and a few others stayed behind on patrol. When Monti and the other staff sergeant returned to their position, they were informed of a man watching them through binoculars in the distance.
On June 21st, Staff Sgt. Monti and his team were ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns by enemy fighters. They took cover between rocks near them and defended themselves. In the midst of the battle, one of the men for Monti’s team was wounded. Monti was not willing to leave his soldier wounded and exposed to the enemy so he made three attempts to rescue him. On the first two attempts Monti was able to dodge the enemy’s fire to come within meters of his soldier. However, each time he was forced back by grenades. On his third and final attempt, Monti weaved in and out of enemy fire before a grenade exploded in his path. Monti was severely wounded and died moments later from his injuries.
Staff Sgt. Jared Monti was posthumously promoted to Sgt.1st Class on June 22, 2006. He was buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts. On July 24, 2009, President Obama made the authorization for Monti to receive the Medal of Honor for his brave actions to save his soldier. His family was presented with the award on September 17, 2009 in a formal ceremony at the White House.
Iraq War Hero: Specialist Ross McGinnis
Ross Andrew McGinnis was born on June 14, 1987 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Romayne and Tom McGinnis and the only son of 3 children. As a young boy he was involved in sports such as basketball, soccer, and baseball. His family moved to Knox, Pennsylvania when he was young and he graduated from Keystone Junior/Senior High School in 2005. At a young age he knew that he wanted to be a soldier when he was older. He joined the Army on his 17th birthday through the delayed entry program on June 14, 2004.
McGinnis completed his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was then assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany. He was known for his genuine personality and his ability to light up a room with laughter.
In August of 2006, McGinnis and his unit were deployed to Eastern Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For three months, McGinnis and his platoon served in operations against Taliban insurgents in the Baghdad district of Adhamiyah. He served as a machine gunner during this operation and managed an M2 .50 caliber machine gun. On December 4th, McGinnis and his unit were on patrol to prevent the movement of the enemy and control the violence around them when a grenade was thrown into the Humvee. To protect his team and the people around them, McGinnis threw himself on top of the grenade. Pinning the grenade between his body and the Humvee he received the majority of the explosion. He died instantly at the age of 19. His selfless act of heroism saved the lives of the four men on his patrol team. His body was returned to the US and was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Private McGinnis was posthumously promoted to specialist and he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In a ceremony on June 2, 2008 at the White House, his family was presented with the medal by President George W. Bush. In addition to the Medal of Honor McGinnis was also awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and a number of other medals for his service.
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