Medal of Honor recipient says Seattle soldier saved his life
SEATTLE -- The nation's next Medal of Honor recipient believes he wouldn't be alive today if not for a local woman's son. Next week, Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts will receive the award for his actions in Afghanistan, but Pitts gives all the credit to Cpl. Jason Bogar and the other soldiers at his side.
"He said 'you know, Jason saved my life, and I would like you to be there, you and your daughters, with me when I receive the medal," said Carlene Cross, Bogar's mother.
Pitts has invited her to stand by his side when he is presented with the nation's highest honor.
"He calls Jason and all the other guys, he says they were heroes," Cross said.
Bogar is one of nine soldiers killed in the Battle of Wanat. Another 27 were wounded in an ambush in July 2008.
The attack began before dawn, and when of the casualties happened right as the rockets and gunfire first pummeled the camp. Bogar immediately manned a machine gun.
"The soldiers that survived said that there were bullets popping all around him," Cross said.
Pitts was nearby the machine gun nest, bleeding out.
"So Jason stopped shooting and put a tourniquet on his leg, and Ryan said that saved his life," she said.
Bogar was one of the only soldiers still standing. He fought on, and when the machine gun malfunctioned, he rushed the enemy position with another weapon to buy time for his comrades.
"But then he was shot through the neck," Bogar's mother said.
Although badly wounded, Pitts kept up the fight. Today he is humble about his own deeds, but generously praises the others.
President Obama will present the Medal of Honor on Monday. Cross leaves for Washington, D.C. on Saturday to be part of that ceremony.