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May 25, 2013

I Drive Your Truck

Thanks to @DoreenHDickson for sending me the story behind Lee Brice's hit song.

Then came the part of the interview that hit me hardest: It was the moment when Paul Monti talked about his sonís truck, and why he still has it, and still drives it.

ďWhat can I tell you? Itís him,Ē Jaredís father explained, nearly choking on his words. ďItís got his DNA all over it. I love driving it because it reminds me of him, though I donít need the truck to remind me of him. I think about him every hour of every day.Ē

I was already tearing up before that story about Jaredís truck. But as the details piled up ó the truck was a Dodge 4X4 Ram 1500 with decals on it that included the 10th Mountain Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, an American flag, and a Go Army sticker ó I lost it.

And there I was sitting in my car in a Walmart parking lot on a sunny Memorial Day in my hometown crying hard. Crying like a child. Crying as if Iíd lost my child.

I wasnít the only one in a car crying that day. It turns out that a Nashville songwriter named Connie Harrington was in her car, too, listening to the very same story. Moved to tears, she pulled over to the side of the road, scribbling notes as the story proceeded.

And here's the result, which I have loved ever since I first heard it.


SSG Jared Monti's MOH citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on June 21, 2006.

While Staff Sergeant Monti was leading a mission aimed at gathering intelligence and directing fire against the enemy, his 16-man patrol was attacked by as many as 50 enemy fighters. On the verge of being overrun, Staff Sergeant Monti quickly directed his men to set up a defensive position behind a rock formation. He then called for indirect fire support, accurately targeting the rounds upon the enemy who had closed to within 50 meters of his position. While still directing fire, Staff Sergeant Monti personally engaged the enemy with his rifle and a grenade, successfully disrupting an attempt to flank his patrol. Staff Sergeant Monti then realized that one of his Soldiers was lying wounded in the open ground between the advancing enemy and the patrolís position.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Monti twice attempted to move from behind the cover of the rocks into the face of relentless enemy fire to rescue his fallen comrade. Determined not to leave his Soldier, Staff Sergeant Monti made a third attempt to cross open terrain through intense enemy fire. On this final attempt, he was mortally wounded, sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his fellow Soldier.

Staff Sergeant Montiís selfless acts of heroism inspired his patrol to fight off the larger enemy force. Staff Sergeant Montiís immeasurable courage and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and the United States Army.

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posted by Andy at 01:20 PM

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