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Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta awarded the Medal of Honor

By Melissa Bell
Salvatore Giunta
Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

At the White House Tuesday, President Barack Obama awardedpresented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for extraordinary bravery in the face of almost death. Giunta will be the first living recipient of the award since the Vietnam War. During the ceremony, President Barack Obama broke from his written speech to say, "I really like this guy," about Giunta. His remark was met with laughter and applause.

The official citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007.

While conducting a patrol as team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force. While under heavy enemy fire, Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover, and administered medical aid.

While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Specialist Giunta's body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Specialist Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Specialist Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Specialist Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Specialist Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative.

As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security. Specialist Giunta's unwavering courage, selflessness, and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from the enemy.

Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta's extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army.

And just because today's a love-smitten kind of day, here's Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta and his wife Jenny being extra adorable (Skip to 3:30 for the cute couple.):

By Melissa Bell  | November 16, 2010; 2:31 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

I believe that is actually the White House action account that was given when the award was announced two months ago. The official citation is somewhat longer. It was read out at the ceremony today but haven't yet seen it online.

Posted by: bdell555 | November 16, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Here is the Official Citation (front page) for Staff Sgt Giunta's Medal of Honor.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007. While conducting a patrol as team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force. While under heavy enemy fire, Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover, and administered medical aid. While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Specialist Giunta’s body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Specialist Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Specialist Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Specialist Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Specialist Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative. As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security. Specialist Giunta’s unwavering courage, selflessness, and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from the enemy. Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army.

Posted by: usafa72 | November 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse


Thank You SSG Giunta for your courage and sacrifice on behalf of all Americans.

You and your fellow servicemen and women are an inspiration and make us all proud.

God Bless You!

Posted by: chicago77 | November 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

obama has just met the better man...
what an American truly is...
a Hero...

Posted by: DwightCollins | November 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I saw this guy on 60 minutes Sunday. He was absolutely humble saying he did only what other people what have done. He personally saved an American solder from falling into the hands of the Taliban. He took several bullets and kept on fighting to rescue his comrade. Such bravery. I remember being nervous playing paint ball but these were real bullets. When we have so many disreputable people in the news (Wall Street, crooked politicians) to see such a brave man in action reminds one that there is a higher level of discourse and humanity that we might achieve without all that spin and subterfuge that cheapens everything.

Posted by: werowe1 | November 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse


The Medal of Honor is awarded by Congress not by Obama. Obama presented the medal.

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@DwightCollins,

Your comment is out of line and repugnant. Why must your kind politicize everything?

SSG Giunta is a hero and he was honored by the COmmander-in-Chief. Simple as that. Let us all honor his courage and service and leave politics out of things just one time.

Posted by: njacobs | November 16, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Sgt Giunta has spoken real American stuff when he dismisses the platitudes and speaks for his KIA buddies as the real heroes. To me, he means it. Nonetheless, he stands tall in front of all Americans. He is an example of heroism with a heavy dose of humility that we all can learn from. God bless you!

Posted by: likovid | November 16, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Bravo Zulu, Staff Sargent.

Let's keep politics out of this.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Deepest congratulations and thank you for serving the US, SSG Giunta.

It's about time that a Medal of Honor ceremony is a happy one instead of a somber euology.

Posted by: Samael | November 16, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much, Sgt. Giunta et al. It's like a ray of sun light on my face in otherwise murky days, months, years. We've endured the muck by greedy businessmen, politicians, and here you are, so good, so brave, so humble. It's incredible you would have a wife also just like you, sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent and forthright. Thank you again!

Posted by: pelohoki | November 16, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Remember Pat Tillman? A hero that Gen. McCrystal lied about. The General that will be in The Hague for war crimes in the near future! Yale has him now, but his luck is about to run out!! Our army is in great need of hero's, there are none in the D.O.D.. Congratulations to Sgt. Giunta , I'm sure that he would have rather been somewhere else, and hopefully his PTSD will be handled properly by the V.A.. I really have empathy for all the service members that have given their all for our country, but this madness has to stop, our government cannot tell the planet how to behave, we need to learn ourselves that we are not the solution, but the problem. Semper Fi!

Posted by: mosby3 | November 16, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I saw the 60 minutes story on Sgt Giunta and was moved not just by his bravery but by all those young men and women fighting over there. Often people ask of each new generation: are they up to the challenge? Sgt Giunta and his cohort have proven they are worthy.

But perhaps a better question we should be asking is if the wars, police action, peacekeeping missions they get sent on are worthy of them?

Posted by: Boris222 | November 16, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I saw the press conference Sgt. Giunta gave a few months ago after the award was announced. He is, truly, a humble hero.

But he is right. There are a lot of others out there who would and do perform similar acts of heroism, and he is standing in for all of them.

Bravo.

Posted by: Itzajob | November 16, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

screwjob22.

The Medal of Honor is not awarded by the Congress and it is not a "Congressional MOH". This is a common misconception. It is approved by the DOD Ia very detailed process) and traditionally presented by the President.

Posted by: jfowler120 | November 16, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The MOH is approved and awarded by the Executive Branch. Congress has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: jfowler120 | November 16, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse


The Medal of Honor is awarded "in the name of Congress" and was created by an act of Congres.

I never said it was name the "Congressional Medal of Honor" -- those were your words not mine. Suggest you do a bit of research:

"The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress."

http://www.cmohs.org/

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse


Well maybe you might care to read the OFFICIAL CITATION in its entirety, and not the abridged version that WaPo presented here, and then come back tell us that Congress has nothing to do with it. Read first though. Link provided at the end.

Quote:

------

Citation
Official Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded, in the name of Congress, the Medal of Honor to
Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta

United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007. While conducting a patrol as team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force. While under heavy enemy fire, Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover, and administered medical aid. While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Specialist Giunta’s body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Specialist Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Specialist Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Specialist Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Specialist Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative. As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security. Specialist Giunta’s unwavering courage, selflessness, and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from the enemy. Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army.


http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/giunta/citation.html

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Giunta - Right on!

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 16, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

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