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Posted at 5:39 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta leaving Army

By Ed O'Keefe

Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, the first living service member from the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor, will leave the Army in mid-June, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Sal Giunta
Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.

Giunta, 26, plans to move with his wife to Fort Collins, Colo. and will use the G.I. Bill to continue his education, according to Army spokesman George Wright. He is currently stationed in Vicenza, Italy as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.

The Medal of Honor is considered the nation's highest military honor. In announcing the award, the White House said in September that Giunta's "courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability [to] defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands."

During a Oct. 25, 2007 firefight with Taliban fighters, Giunta ran straight into an ambush to aid three wounded soldiers.

The award came after years of complaints from lawmakers, military officers and veterans groups that the Pentagon had yet to consider troops from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the honor.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 8, 2011; 5:39 PM ET
Categories:  Military  
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Comments

Good luck in your future, Sgt Giunta, and thank you for your service!

Posted by: TheMan66 | February 8, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your servoe to our country, Sgt. Giunta. You deserve a looooong rest with your family.
Now, how about enlistig the cowardly Three Stooges from False News, and the morbidly obese, radio psychopath that goes by the disgusting name of Trash Limbugh?

Posted by: analyst72 | February 8, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your servoe to our country, Sgt. Giunta. You deserve a looooong rest with your family.
Now, how about enlistig the cowardly Three Stooges from False News, and the morbidly obese, radio psychopath that goes by the disgusting name of Trash Limbaugh?

Posted by: analyst72 | February 8, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"The Medal of Honor is considered the nation's highest military honor."
That's because it IS the highest military honor.

Posted by: dexterpeabody | February 8, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Staff Sgt Giunta has our best wishes, but the Army has blown its opportunity to retain a valuable asset, and he's discarding a bright future. Somebody should have counseled Giunta about his opportunities and prospects in the Army. Having the MOH is a ticket to rise either to the top of the enlisted ranks, to the top of the warrant officer corps, or to a commission and high officer's rank. The Army would send him to college, to study whatever he might want, and that time would count for retirement. He could transfer to whatever specialty might strike his fancy and appear to offer the best post-retirement prospects. Because he has the MOH, the Army would never transfer him ever again to a combat zone unless he volunteers for it. (This could be a negative, if he only wants to stay in if he can serve in combat.) He could retire with half pay at an age young enough to start a second career, and having the MOH would be a strong door-opener whenever he enters civvy street. And if he'd stay in, he'd find that he had significant influence on the service and on all the young troops he would ever encounter.
Maybe Giunta figures that getting out, going to college and starting a civilian career is the way to riches, fame and happiness. Oh, well.

Posted by: JKGordon | February 8, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's disaggregate Guinta from Lefty "rage" that certain right wing pundits were like Lefties in never serving.

Wish the Sargeant well in his post-military life.

And remember that most guys, and the female minority in uniform...serve well and even without the "marquee medal", deserve society's thanks and a leg up in the job market.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | February 8, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"The award came after years of complaints from lawmakers, military officers and veterans groups that the Pentagon had yet to consider troops from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the honor."

A Pentagon mentality arose in the 90s that the MOH was so special you had to kill yourself to get it. Which ignored that living recipients from the Civil War to Vietnam.
Then it was restricted, though not officially, to only soldiers who did something that made them dead.

Guinta was a break from that idiocy. Many others should have gotten the MOH for exceptional deeds in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Somalia and Panama)- but got lesser awards because their valor left them alive.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | February 8, 2011 9:45 PM | Report abuse

My thanks and appreciation to Sgt. Giunta and to every other solder, sailor, airperson, Marine, and Coastguardsperson serving our great Nation, volunteers all. I wish Sgt. Giunta and his family the very best as he moves to the next stages of his life, with hopes and expectation for their success and happiness.

(Note for ChrisFord: As far as I know, exactly NONE of Mitt Romney's children have ever served their country in ways other than helping their father try to gain the Republican nomination for president.)

Posted by: edallan | February 8, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

edallan - "(Note for ChrisFord: As far as I know, exactly NONE of Mitt Romney's children have ever served their country in ways other than helping their father try to gain the Republican nomination for president.)"

And, what is your point? Did Obama serve? Did any of the Chintons serve? Pelosi? Rahm Emmanual? Their kids? Or you idiot's patron saint, Keith Olbermann?

I served as an officer and a Gulf War vet. I don't hold it against Obama or the Romney kids that they never did military service. I consider service under honorable conditions a plus - but not something that entitles someone to a Senate seat and such. And there are many, many other honorable public service paths besides choosing a hitch in the Army. Over working at Walmarts. Or working at Walmarts and honorably volunteering to care for cancer patients by taking them
to and from chemo.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | February 8, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@JKGordon - Some Soldiers in the junior ranks look at their superiors and don't want their job. I enlisted as a specialist (E-4) because I had a bachelor's in journalism; it is very rare for a junior officer to get a public affairs position, but as a junior Soldier I wound up editing most of my supervisors. What you propose might not be an attractive offer to Staff Sgt. Giunta.
He also might not want to talk about how he "earned" the MOH - I can't imagine how horrible it would be to constantly answer questions about the day you lost good friends. I don't know anyone who is glad they have a Purple Heart.

I wish Staff Sgt. Giunta well and hope he is able to create the post-Army life he wants. From the profiles I've read about him, I don't think he wants fame or riches - I think he actually wants to fade into regular life.

Posted by: Aloe9678 | February 9, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

SSG Giunta has earned the right to do what ever it is he wants to do with the rest of his life as any other military member has when they complete their enlistment. Yes that "Medal" will open doors for him, as it should he was awarded it for selfless service. As he stated at the time he is not taking it for himself but for every man that was with him that day, it was the circumstance that made the medal the entire episode was made up of his friends, their wounds and some deaths and yes even the enemy, SSG Giunta will never fogget that day, that Medal will never let him, if he could have fogitten it anyway, those type's of memories live with you forever medals or no medals. I wish SSG Giunta and HIS family the best as they are all going to be affected by this, he will always be the man with THE Medal he will never just be good old Sal anymore there will be days that medal will feel like a boat anchor and other days he will be proud, and when he dies the VA will put the MOH on his headstone it will live forever

Posted by: mikey30919 | February 9, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Ford,

One quick response, since this thread should be about Sgt. Giunta and his highly honorable service and the honorable service of everyone else, yourself included, who volunteered to put their lives on the line.

You may recall that in 2008, the Mittster was asked about his sons, and he responded that they were "serving their country" -- by trying to get him nominated as President. I certainly agree with you that there are lots of ways of serving. But there is something more than a little disingenuous about someone who pushes for an increase in the number of Americans to be placed in a combat situation while he himself and his children are very careful not to be among them.

Regards,

Posted by: edallan | February 9, 2011 1:47 AM | Report abuse

He's certainly done more than his share for the country. %1 of the population serves, the rest mostly sit on the couch, get fat, and complain.

Posted by: Nymous | February 9, 2011 2:01 AM | Report abuse

SGT GIUNTA ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE IS LEAVING THE ARMY..IS NO BIG DEAL. LIKE SO MANY WHO SERVED, SGT GIUNTA CAN MOVE ON INTO CIVILIAN LIFE...AND AS HE DID IN THE KORENGAL...MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF TRANSITION FROM COMBAT VETERAN TO CIVILIAN. TO OVERCOME THE THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES OF THOSE LOST DURING THOSE DAYS IN THE "VALLEY OF DEATH", SGT GIUNTA CAN SET THE BAR..THE EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL MILITARY CAREER....AND A SUCCESSFUL LIFE AFTER SERVING HIS COUNTRY.

LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE...DON'T DO WHAT I SAY...SO WHAT I DO.

GOOD LUCK SGT GIUNTA TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

RH/PAKITA-KHOST PROVINCES/2003

Posted by: LTC11A | February 9, 2011 5:31 AM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1: "A Pentagon mentality arose in the 90s that the MOH was so special you had to kill yourself to get it. Which ignored that living recipients from the Civil War to Vietnam.
Then it was restricted, though not officially, to only soldiers who did something that made them dead."


Ironic then that probably the most famous recipent of the honor was John Basilone, who received it for his actions on Guadacanal, and later awarded the lesser but still significant Navy Cross for the actions that actually got him killed on Iwo Jima. However that was WWII not the 90s.

Posted by: akmzrazor | February 9, 2011 7:48 AM | Report abuse

I thank the Sgt. for his service to our country. And, I must say he's making a wise decision. When people are remarking that the award recognizing your deeds is all the more remarkable because you're still alive, it's probably time to not let the military's door hit you in the backside as you go home to your family.

To the person who thinks he should have stayed to become and officer. First, maybe he didn't want to become an officer. And, after the bullets whiz by you enough, there's probably still one out there with your name on it. His decision makes eminent sense. Most who have been in combat know that the best purpose for the military is to try to not have to fight a war again.

Then there's the idiot who wants to send the cowardly and the obese out to serve. Don't shame the lives that have been lost for our country, or those still serving, by equating the dregs with the heroes.

Posted by: JohninConnecticut | February 9, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Good for him. I'm glad to see he's leaving and making a new life for himself.
As prior Navy enlisted, and serving in Desert Shield & Storm I understand his desire to leave the service. For what it's worth, even with the MOH, as prior enlisted he would never be accepted in the elite Officer's Club as one of them.
He did what he had to, and is now done with the bull.
He is a true Army of one.

Posted by: nonag | February 9, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for your service Sgt. Giunta!
You are the best role model for our young ones!
Good luck in the future!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | February 9, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

To the person who thinks he should have stayed to become and officer. First, maybe he didn't want to become an officer. And, after the bullets whiz by you enough, there's probably still one out there with your name on it. His decision makes eminent sense. Most who have been in combat know that the best purpose for the military is to try to not have to fight a war again.

Then there's the idiot who wants to send the cowardly and the obese out to serve. Don't shame the lives that have been lost for our country, or those still serving, by equating the dregs with the heroes.

Posted by: JohninConnecticut

========================================

As I recall from the AP article yesterday he's going to college and there's nothing stopping him from going the "Mustang" route and earning his commission after he graduates.

I also agree that the idiots posting here should keep their politics and petty hatreds out of this.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 9, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Let's disaggregate Guinta from Lefty "rage" that certain right wing pundits were like Lefties in never serving...
Posted by: ChrisFord1

Sir,
As a retired mustang and left-of-center, I respect your right to an 'opinion', but wish you were not such a pr!@k.

V/R

Posted by: mloaks | February 9, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Bravo Zulu, Staff Sargent.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 9, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

A heart felt thans for service - and I do believe that Sgt Giunta is following his best option at the present. The government has it's living 'hero' and is 'inviting' him to too many public events.
This country needs more recognition for the service being performed for them and not need the hero worship that can be more difficult to bear than combat.

Posted by: rpieper1 | February 9, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

A heart felt thanks for his service - and I do believe that Sgt Giunta is following his best option at the present. The government has it's living 'hero' and is 'inviting' him to too many public events.
This country needs more recognition for the service being performed for them and not need the hero worship that can be more difficult to bear than combat.

Posted by: rpieper1 | February 9, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

For anyone who has not seen this young man's interview on 60 Minutes, I hope you can find it on youtube.com. The word "hero" is an understatement in describing him. Not only is he an extraordinary soldier, but he is a humble gentleman as well.

God bless you, Staff Sgt. Giunta in whatever you do in life. May He bless you and keep you.

And God bless all of our troops!

With the utmost respect,
A grateful American

Posted by: gitouttahere | February 9, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Here is the deal about honors. They are like gifts. No one should ever expect so much as a thank you foroffer. If they do they are not giving or honoring in the first place.
Sadly, as of late, we in America just have to commoditize everything. No one can simply appreciate a good or beautiful thing with out thinking that it should be packaged and profited from. Sgt. Giunta doesn't owe anyone the burden of being the commodity of the MOH.
Have a great life Sgt. Giunta and thank you for being the role model that thought for others, and then thought for himself. That's what real Americans do.

Posted by: over202 | February 9, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

WOW !
Talk about clueless !

Duhhh. The Congressional Medal Of Honor IS the highest military distinction. Perhaps that's why it is so "considered". Something else to "consider": compulsory military service. These 2 "considereds" dovetail nicely.

Posted by: craigslsst | February 9, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Staff Sgt Giunta is tired of being sent back to Iraq and Afghanistan for 3,4, or even 5 tours of duty while the war mongering president and congress sit around on their fat asses reaping the profits from sending our people to their deaths in their wars of choice.

Posted by: JimW2 | February 9, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry the president raped your ass, JimW2, but you have to contribute too.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 9, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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