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Obama honors US vet who survived harrowing Afghan battle

US President Barack Obama awards Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2014A US soldier who fought off an “onslaught” of Afghan insurgents despite wounds to his arm and legs received the country’s highest military honor Monday at a White House ceremony. Ryan Pitts, a retired US Army staff sergeant, was hailed by President Barack Obama for keeping a huge force of Taliban at bay in one of the bloodiest battles of the 13-year-war in Afghanistan. “Machine gunfire and mortar and rocket propelled grenades poured down from every direction,” said Obama, recounting a Taliban ambush near the village of Wanat on July 19, 2008. “Against that onslaught, one American held the line,” Obama said of Pitts.

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