Graph with photos of SFC Jared Monti and Physical Fitness Center

Monti Physical Fitness Center was named after Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti during a ceremony June 30, 2010, at Fort Drum. Monti deployed with 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), to Afghanistan, and died in combat on June 21, 2006. Monti became the second 10th Mountain Division Soldier to posthumously receive the Medal of Honor, the first being Pfc. John Magrath, who fought with 2nd Battalion, 85th Infantry Regiment, in the mountains of Italy during World War II. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Facility name recognizes Medal of Honor recipient from 10th Mountain Division

Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 20, 2024) – In 2006, roughly 12,000 Soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division (LI) were in Afghanistan, fighting insurgent forces while engaged in all manner of military operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Among those Soldiers was Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti, for whom the Monti Physical Fitness Center was named during a memorialization ceremony June 30, 2010, at Fort Drum.

Monti, son of Paul and Janet Monti, was born Sept. 20, 1975, in Abington, Massachusetts. The family moved to Raynham, where Monti developed a love for sports. He played Little League Baseball, basketball, and travel soccer.  

Monti also competed in wrestling and triathlons while in high school and earned the Under-17-Year-Old New England Weightlifting Championship. He demonstrated perseverance when he was cut from the basketball team three times at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, then finally made varsity his final year.

His mother served as a preschool teacher at the local YMCA, where Monti volunteered in the after-school program for children.

His parents encouraged him to apply to colleges, but Monti was adamant about joining the Army. As a high school junior, he was too young to enlist on his own, so he convinced his parents to sign the consent forms for the Army National Guard Delayed Entry Program.

Monti enlisted on March 11, 1993, and completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, before graduating high school the following year. He entered active-duty status and completed advanced individual training as a fire support specialist at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

From Fort Riley, Kansas, Monti departed to the Korean Peninsula with 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, where they stationed at Camp Stanley near the demilitarized zone.

Upon his return stateside, Monti attended Airborne School at Fort Benning (now Fort Moore), Georgia, followed by a second deployment to South Korea. In 1998, he earned his British Parachutist Badge (with Wings), while training in England.

In 1999, Monti went to Kosovo on a two-year deployment in support of Operation Joint Guardian, where he received a Purple Heart after sustaining an injury during a flight jump.

His next assignment was with the 10th Mountain Division (LI) at Fort Drum, where he served as a fire support noncommissioned officer with 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Deployed to Afghanistan in 2003, Monti received the Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal for his actions against an insurgent ambush on his convoy.

On his second combat deployment to Afghanistan, Monti departed Fort Drum on Feb. 13, 2006, with 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VII.

Monti cross-trained with squadron scout and sniper teams in preparation for combat operations, and he led numerous missions in his squadron’s area of operations.

On June 18, Soldiers with 3-71 Cavalry were near Gowardesh, in the Nuristan Province, to disrupt enemy operations in the region. Monti joined a 16-man patrol of snipers and forward observers tasked with a surveillance mission to provide intelligence for the troops who would arrive three days later.

According to “See You On the High Ground: The Jared C. Monti Story,” by Len Sandler, the patrol hiked up an unchartered mountain known only as Hill 2610 – an exhausting 8,662-foot climb for Soldiers wearing body armor and heavy rucksacks.

They moved with caution, watching for snipers and land mines along the way towards the ridge where they established an observation post. Their position became compromised during a supply drop when insurgents were alerted by the helicopter’s approach. The patrol decided their best option was to defend their position from the impending attack.

On June 21, roughly 60 Taliban soldiers in two protected positions opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). One patrol member died in the initial assault. Monti called for artillery and air support as the firefight intensified and two other Soldiers were injured.

Monti engaged the enemy with his rifle and grenade, while directing fire to disrupt a flank on the patrol. Disregarding his own safety, he twice attempted to move from cover to rescue a severely wounded Soldier lying with no protective cover. The barrage of firepower drove him back, but he would not relent.

Despite patrol members providing cover fire, the enemy insurgents focused on Monti. While running toward his comrade a third time, Monti was mortally wounded when struck by an RPG. When the calls he initiated for fire support broke down the enemy’s assault, the patrol was saved. In the end, Monti, Staff Sgt. Patrick J. Lybert, and Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury died in the 18-hour battle.

Monti became the second 10th Mountain Division Soldier to posthumously receive the Medal of Honor, the first being Pfc. John Magrath, who fought with 2nd Battalion, 85th Infantry Regiment, in the mountains of Italy during World War II.

President Barack Obama presided over the Medal of Honor ceremony on Sept. 17, 2009, attended by Monti’s parents, his brother Tim, his sister Niccole, as well as other family members and Soldiers from his unit.  

“Compassion. Perseverance. Strength. A love for his fellow Soldiers,” Obama said. “Those are the values that defined Jared Monti’s life – and the values he displayed in the actions that we recognize here today. He was the Soldier in Afghanistan who received care packages, including fresh clothes, and gave them away to Afghan children who needed them more.”

On the same day as the MOH ceremony, Soldiers with 3-71 Cavalry and 1-32 Infantry in Afghanistan held a ceremony to rededicate a combat outpost as COP Monti.

Nearly 1,000 Soldiers, family members and friends attended the renaming of the Pine Plains Physical Fitness Center on June 30, 2010, in honor of Monti.  

Also in 2010, members of American Legion Post 405 dedicated their gathering room to Monti on Veterans Day.

On April 6, 2014, millions of viewers watched the 49th Academy of Country Music Awards, where Lee Brice won Song of the Year for “I Drive Your Truck.” Taking the podium, songwriter Connie Harrington thanked the Monti family for the inspiration behind the song.

After his death, Monti’s father kept his son’s truck and drove it every day to remember him. He had means to upgrade the truck, but Paul Monti kept it in the same condition to honor his son’s humbleness. When Harrington heard about this during a radio interview with Monti’s parents, she connected with the story and took notes. The song was completed on the fifth anniversary of Monti’s death.

In 2020, Monti and four other Medal of Honor recipients – Pfc. John Magrath, Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, Lt. Col. William Swenson, and Lt. Gen. George P. Hays – were inducted into the inaugural class of the 10th Mountain Division Warrior Legends Hall of Fame.

At Fort Drum’s Annual Remembrance Ceremony on Aug. 31, 2021, Paul Monti spoke about being inspired to acts of charity because of his son.

“That’s what you do,” he said. “You give back. You make it your mission to make sure your child is not forgotten. Whatever I did, I had to do it in his name.”