20 Jan 2005
I did not know Captain Pitts but he was from my hometown. Several other veterans from the area and I visited his grave in the Hillcrest Cemetery, Spencer, Oklahoma, this past Veterans' Day. I noticed he did not have a tribute page on The Virtual Wall and thought it would be appropriate to add one. Rest in peace, Brother Pitts.
From a brother in arms,
To fallen soldiers let us sing
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing.
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord.
No more bleeding, no more fight,
No prayers pleading through the night,
Just divine embrace, eternal light
In the Mansions of the Lord.
Where no mothers cry and no children weep,
We will stand and guard though the angels sleep.
Through the ages safely keep
The Mansions of the Lord.
"The Mansions of the Lord"
Composed by Nick Glennie-Smith and Randall Wallace
The President of the United States|
in the name of the Congress of the United States
takes pride in presenting the
MEDAL OF HONOR
RILEY LEROY PITTS
for service as set forth in the following
United States Army
Distinguishing himself by exceptional heroism while serving as company commander during an airmobile assault. Immediately after his company landed in the area, several Viet Cong opened fire with automatic weapons. Despite the enemy fire, CPT Pitts forcefully led an assault which overran the enemy positions. Shortly thereafter, CPT Pitts was ordered to move his unit to the north to reinforce another company heavily engaged against a strong enemy force. As CPT Pitts' company moved forward to engage the enemy, intense fire was received from three directions, including fire from four enemy bunkers, two of which were within 15 meters of CPT Pitts' position. The severity of the incoming fire prevented CPT Pitts from maneuvering his company. His rifle fire proving ineffective against the enemy due to the dense jungle foliage, he picked up an M-79 grenade launcher and began pinpointing the targets. Seizing a Chinese Communist grenade which had been taken from a captured Viet Cong's web gear, CPT Pitts lobbed the grenade at a bunker to his front, but it hit the dense jungle foliage and rebounded. Without hesitation, CPT Pitts threw himself on top of the grenade which, fortunately, failed to explode. CPT Pitts then directed the repositioning of the company to permit friendly artillery to be fired. Upon completion of the artillery fire mission, CPT Pitts again led his men toward the enemy positions, personally killing at least one more Viet Cong. The jungle growth still prevented effective fire to be placed on the enemy bunkers. CPT Pitts, displaying complete disregard for his life and personal safety, quickly moved to a position which permitted him to place effective fire on the enemy. He maintained a continuous fire, pinpointing the enemy's fortified positions, while at the same time directing and urging his men forward, until he was mortally wounded. CPT Pitts' conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the Armed Forces of his country.