Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1st Medal of Honor to living solider since Vietnam War to be awarded next month

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta in a November 16 White House ceremony.

The 25-year-old noncommissioned officer - who will be the first living soldier since the Vietnam War to receive the nation's top military honor - learned of his selection in a  phone call from the president.

Giunta was a 22-year-old rifle team leader serving in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team's Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, when insurgents attacked his squad the night of October 25, 2007. When approaching insurgents formed an L-shaped ambush, splitting Giunta's squad into two groups, Giunta braved enemy fire to pull a squad member back to cover.

He later saved another soldier while trying to connect with the other half of his squad. He saw two insurgents carrying off the second squad member and recovered him while shooting and killing one enemy fighter and wounding and driving off others.

Giunta administered medical aid to the wounded soldier while the remainder of his squad caught up with them and secured the area. Despite Giunta's efforts, the soldier died the next day during surgery.

Giunta enlisted in the Army in November 2003 and has completed two combat tours of Afghanistan, totaling 27 months. His wife, Jennifer, and his parents, Steven and Rosemary Giunta, will join him at the ceremony.

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