|SFC Jared Monti|
Five years ago, Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. First Class Jared Monti became the first Medal of Honor Recipient from the war in Afghanistan. He gave his life on a mountaintop while trying to save a fellow soldier wounded in battle with Taliban insurgents.
Sgt. John Garner who was on that mountaintop with Jared five years ago named his son Jack Monti Garner after his friend. “Because he saved my life,” said Garner.
On April 2, 2011 twenty expectant military families will receive a baby shower they wouldn’t have received otherwise at the Elsinore Woman’s Club, courtesy of nonprofit partners Operation Showers of Appreciation and SFC Jared C. Monti Memorial Fund.
The event is the Inaugural SFC Jared C. Monti Memorial Baby Shower and will be held annually in memory of the first Medal of Honor Recipient in Operation Enduring Freedom SFC Jared C. Monti. The moms-to-be and moms of newborns up to six months of age will be receiving baby supplies, toys, clothing.
The baby shower will be hosted by Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Melissa Melendez and Courtney Faith Vera, National Guard Family Readiness Group Leader for the 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and Bravo Company, 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. Melendez is a proud Navy Veteran and Courtney Faith Vera is the proud wife of a National Guard Commander and has been awarded the California Commendation Medal for meritorious achievement for her work supporting military families.
This year, they surprised Jared’s sister Nicole who is having her second child this summer.
“We are shipping this to you!” said Courtney Faith Vera, Shower’s of Appreciation organizer as she rolled a baby stroller and diaper bag into view.”
Courtney Faith Vera tells her story about SFC Jared C. Monti below in her words. The article can be found on the Lake Elsinore Patch Column that she writes as well.
“Sergeant Garner from Bravo Company, 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and his Baby-to-Be’s mother headed to a Southern California hospital earlier this month for the birth of their first child, a son with a special name: Jack Monti Garner. Jack is special because he is named after Staff Sergeant Jared Monti, who lost his life while desperately trying to save a fellow soldier who lay wounded and helpless. Little Jack is the 4th namesake of SFC Jared C. Monti.”
The tie between Sergeant Monti and Sergeant Garner, who is based in Escondido, can be traced back, but June 21, 2006 — a dreadful day on a mountain in Afghanistan — is what stands out.
Recalling that day, Sergeant Garner has said bullets and rockets whizzed by so close they ripped his weapon out of his hand. He used his body to shield radioman Sergeant Chris Grzecki as he called in air support.
Sergeant Garner and Sergeant Grzecki were two of 16 soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division who were supporting a much larger group 2,600 feet below them.
Suddenly, the 16 soldiers heard enemy fire lighting up trees above the ridge they were holding. Mortars were raining down and there was no visibility.
When the smoke began to clear, one could see Private First Class James lying on his stomach. He was seriously wounded. Staff Sergeant Patrick Lybert was already dead. An RPG had torn through Private Bradbury’s arm.
Sergeant Monti wasn’t giving up and he wasn’t going to allow his soldiers to either. He called in artillery and airstrikes, but Bradbury’s cries were getting weaker. His man was slipping away.
“That’s my guy. I am going to get him.”
He would not make it back. On his third attempt to save his soldier, Sergeant Monti fell into a hellacious storm of RPGs and bullets just feet away from Private First Class Bradbury.
Sergeant Monti’s last words: “I’ve made my peace with God. Tell my family that I love them.”