WASHINGTON, D.C.: A US soldier who fought off an “onslaught” of Afghan insurgents despite wounds to his arm and legs received the country’s highest military honor on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) at a White House ceremony. Ryan Pitts, a retired US Army staff sergeant, was hailed by President Barack Obama for keeping a huge force of Taliban at bay in one of the bloodiest battles of the 13-year-war in Afghanistan. “Machine gunfire and mortar and rocket propelled grenades poured down from every direction,” said Obama, recounting a Taliban ambush near the village of Wanat on July 19, 2008. “Against that onslaught, one American held the line,” Obama said of Pitts. Only the eighth living recipient to receive the Medal of Honor, Pitts was lauded for his role in a controversial battle.