VSCA remarks for MOH presentation in honor of SFC Monti
November 25, 2009
Remarks as delivered by
Vice Chief of Staff, Army
General Peter W. Chiarelli
Medal of Honor Ceremony
iho Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti
Friday, September 18, 2009
The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Secretary Lynn... Secretary Geren... Sergeant Major of the Army Preston....
A special welcome to Janet Monti-Jared's Mom.... his Dad-Paul Monti.... brother-Timothy....
sister-Niccole.... Jared's favorite niece in the whole wide world-Carys.... other family members.... loved ones.... and, dear friends.
We're also honored to have two previous Medal of Honor recipients here with us today - LTG (Ret.) Bob Foley and Colonel (Ret.) H.C. Barnum. Thank you, gentlemen for being here and for your service to our Army and to our Nation.
Over the last few days, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting and spending time with the Monti family. And, I will tell you, they are deeply, deeply appreciative of the outpouring of support they've received - not just in the last week, but over the past three-plus years - from friends and strangers alike.
Jared Monti was a remarkable young man from a wonderful family. Aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors, Non-Commissioned Officers, Soldiers, and friends.... have gathered together from near and far to pay tribute to this American hero.
It is truly an honor for me to be part of this very special ceremony; although, we dearly wish the circumstances were much different. The Medal of Honor is our Nation's highest honor. Jared's dad, Paul said it best - "It ensures him a place in history, but I'd much rather have him with me."
There are no words that can heal the loss we suffer when a young man-or woman-is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. We cannot fill the void that is left behind - nor would we hope to. What we mean to do is to celebrate a courageous Soldier - Sergeant First Class Jared Monti's - extraordinary life, while honoring his service to our country.
The business we're in of defending the Nation is not simply about service....what makes it unique is the call to selfless service. Every Soldier in the United States Army knows and understands the Army Values of Loyalty.... Duty.... Respect.... Selfless Service.... Honor.... Integrity.... and, Personal Courage. Sergeant First Class Monti not only knew these values - he lived them every single day. And, on that last day, he demonstrated to the young Soldiers in his patrol exactly what those values mean in a difficult and dangerous environment.
Some of you may be familiar with the events of the 21st of June 2006.... That afternoon, a 16-man patrol led by then-Staff Sergeant Monti and his buddy, Staff Sergeant Christopher Cunningham established a security perimeter around their position along the ridgeline on an edge of Mountain 2610 in Afghanistan. Their mission was to conduct surveillance of the Gremen Valley in advance of the Squadron's planned assault a few days later.
As nightfall approached, the patrol was attacked by a large opposition force. Enemy fighters had established two support-by-fire positions directly above the patrol in the dense wood line. Many of the patrol members were exposed. Specialist Heistand and Private First Class Bradbury attempted to sprint from their position in the open area near the wood line back to the south where large rocks would provide better cover. PFC Bradbury was badly injured and fell short of the rocks.
Staff Sergeants Cunningham and Monti immediately took charge of the defense, quickly setting up a perimeter, and posting Soldiers to guard their flanks. They directed fire; Staff Sergeant Monti calmly called for indirect fire and close-air support, very nearly on the patrol's position.
After taking accountability of their Soldiers amidst heavy enemy fire, Monti and Cunningham realized that Private First Class Bradbury was unaccounted for. Eventually they discovered he was severely wounded lying in a shallow depression approximately 20 meters in front of the patrol. The enemy was as close as 30 meters beyond his location.
Immediately..... recognizing that PFC Bradbury was not only exposed to enemy fire, but also to the incoming indirect fire - and, with complete disregard for his own safety - Staff Sergeant Monti advanced through the enemy fire in an attempt to rescue PFC Bradbury.
In the end, Sergeant Monti would make three such attempts - the first two cut short by intense enemy fire. In his third and final attempt, Staff Sergeant Monti rose from his covered position.... took a few steps.... before he was mortally wounded only a few meters from PFC Bradbury's location.
The other members of the patrol called out to Sergeant Monti and encouraged him to stay conscious. He spoke to them and told them that he had made peace with God, and then asked Staff Sergeant Cunningham to tell his parents that he loved them.
Three days earlier, on June 18th, 2006 - Father's Day - Sergeant Monti called and talked with his Dad.... it would be their last conversation.... When you recalled that day, Paul, in messages to your son posted online you said, "I taught you to be courageous, brave and tough. I taught you to think of others before yourself. I wonder now if I did the right thing."
I cannot imagine the pain you and Janet suffer, but I do know the immense pride a father feels for his son or daughter. What a remarkable young man you both raised together. Those values you instilled in Jared at an early age made him the very special person he was; a young man who in the face of tremendous adversity demonstrated incredible selflessness and courage.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Your son lived these words through his actions on that very difficult day while attempting to save his friend, Private First Class Bradbury.
Jared and the 15 young men he served beside that afternoon were brothers, in the purest sense of the word. They fought alongside each other and looked out for one another. Admittedly, theirs was a difficult and dangerous mission. But, it was also important to establishing security and stability for the region. We are making progress in Afghanistan. And, by their service, your son and the young men he served with contributed to this success.
All of us mourn the loss of Sergeant First Class Monti. We forever owe him a debt of gratitude for the incredible sacrifice he made and for his many years of service to our Army and to our Nation.
Sergeant First Class Monti's memory and legacy of Selfless Service, Courage, Valor, and Sacrifice will forever be preserved and reflected in the Medal of Honor that bears his name.
The Greek historian, Polybius said,
"...the glorious memory of brave men is continually renewed; the fame of those who have performed any noble deed is never allowed to die; and the renown of those who have done good service to their country becomes a matter of common knowledge to the multitude, and part of the heritage of posterity."
May Sergeant First Class Monti rest in peace knowing the world is a better, freer, and safer place for his efforts and sacrifice. May God bless him.... his family.... and, the United States of America.