Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Operation Enduring Freedom VIII, ROCK Paratrooper Medal of Honor Recipients and their Commander circa 2008, Vicenza, Italy

Back in 2008 when the 173rd redeployed from Operation Enduring Freedom VIII, a group of us came together to raise funds for a "Welcome Home" party for 2-503d.  The group included folks who had family members and/or friends in 2nd Batt.  The group included Gold Star families.

Over the years I have often gone back through the multitude of photos from that night.  The memory is always fresh in my mind.  Of all of the images one always took my breath away.  I knew the night of the party that Sal (SSG Sal Giunta) has been nominated for the Medal of Honor.  I learned not long afterwards that Kyle (SSG Kyle White) had been nominated for the Medal of Honor.  And I knew that Ryan (SSG Ryan Pitts) had been nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross.  A couple of years later I learned that Ryan's DSC had been upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Who would have ever imagined when I snapped this image (among hundred of images I snapped that night) of Sal, Ryan, Kyle and COL (then LTC) Ostlund, the 2-503d Battalion Commander for OEF VIII, that all three of those men would wear the Medal of Honor one day?

SSG Sal Giunta, SSG Ryan Pitts, SSG Kyle White and COL Bill Ostlund

I love these men and their families and am beyond honored that they are my friends.

Note:  This photo cannot be used without permission from Leta Carruth


Unknown said...

WOW Leta… Epic picture!!!

VTWoody said...

That's just awesome.

Unknown said...

I love hearing stories about these honorable soldiers. They make me have faith that there are a lot of really great people out there willing to sacrifice for others. Military awards might be one of the highest honors people can get. http://www.thewhimsicalpig.net/mil/index.html