- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2014

An Army Reserve soldier recognized for outstanding service in Afghanistan says a robber stole her military medals while she ate with her parents at a reunion dinner in Hartford, Conn.

Spec. Jackie Gatti, 32, from South Weymouth, Mass., called the theft a “slap in the face” after all her months in Afghanistan.

She told WFXT in Boston she had placed her medals in a backpack in the back of a pickup truck while she dined with family inside a restaurant, and that’s when the robber struck.

“Kind of a slap in the face after all I’ve just been through this past year for him or her, whoever, just decided to help himself to my belongings,” she said, to WXFT.

Her eight-month military mission in Afghanistan included guarding Taliban prisoners.

She noticed the backpack — Army-issue camouflage — was missing as soon as she returned to the truck.

“I kind of stared at the back of the truck for a minute and I say you have to be kidding me, it’s gone. And that’s really all I could get out of my mouth,” she told WFXT.

“A lot of my military documentation was in there. All my awards from my deployment were in there. I had company coins that my commander and first sergeant had given me as a job well done.”

She’s since filed a police report and put local pawn shops on notice. But in the meantime, she’s pleading for the thief to have a change of heart and return the items — no questions asked — in exchange for a $1,000 reward.

“That’s something that we pride ourselves on in the military, is our integrity, so I hope this person can find theirs.”