Ryan Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan on 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. Ryan Pitts was born in 1985 in Lowell, Massachusetts and grew up in Southern New Hampshire. In 2003, he enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 under the delayed entry program.
Pitts attended the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned as a radio telephone operator for the 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade at Camp Ederle, Italy from 2004-2005. He remained headquartered at Camp Ederle as part of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade from 2006 to 2009.
While assigned to the 173rd, Pitts deployed twice to Afghanistan. His first deployment in 2005 lasted 12 months. His final deployment spanned 15 months beginning in 2007. Pitts departed the active-duty Army in 2009 at the rank of Staff Sergeant.