Raynham man killed in war gets top honor

By Abbie Ruzicka
Globe Correspondent / July 24, 2009

E-mail this article

Invalid email address
Invalid email address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

The family of a 30-year-old US Army sergeant from Raynham who was killed on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan three years ago will accept the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor for military, on his behalf in September.

US Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti died in 2006 trying to rescue fellow soldiers in Afghanistan during a battle against Taliban insurgents.

Christopher Cunningham, an Army Ranger instructor from Whitingham, Vt., was with Monti when their platoon came under fire in Afghanistan and nominated him for the medal.

“I’ve seen my fair share of fighting with the enemy, and that was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen a soldier do,’’ he said in a phone interview last night. “What he did was amazing.’’

Monti’s father, Paul Monti, of Raynham, said he received a phone call from President Obama Tuesday notifying him that his son had been chosen to receive the honor.

“He told me . . . the nation was proud of my son, and he was proud of my son and was sure I was proud of my son,’’ he said.

Paul Monti said his son, who entered the service when he was a junior in high school, would have been humbled to be singled out for the honor.

“It ensures him a place in history,’’ he said, “but I’d much rather have him with me.’’

Monti’s mother, Janet Monti, of Winterville, N.C., also received the bittersweet call from Obama Tuesday.

“I’m so proud of him, but we’re going to meet the president because he’s dead, so I feel no joy in that,’’ she said.

Monti was shot to death by Taliban fighters while he was moving fellow soldiers to a covered position, his mother said. He saved the life of one soldier who had been wounded by gunfire, before he was killed.

Janet Monti said she was stunned to hear the news of his death in 2006. When her son was a child, she said, he always found a way out of trouble.

“I would describe him as a cat with nine lives,’’ she said. “Whatever he did, he always managed to get out of it, so we always assumed he would get out of it over there.’’

Monti’s sister, Niccole Monti, who lives with her mother in Winterville, N.C., said the news of her brother’s honor came with mixed emotions.

“You start to heal, and as excited as we are about this, it does bring back sadness,’’ she said.

Darin Souza grew up with Monti in Raynham and was stationed with him at Fort Drum in New York in 1999, he said. Souza now cochairs a scholarship memorial fund in Monti’s name.

Though Monti never wanted attention, Souza said, he was awarded many medals in his 12 years of service, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.