Yesterday, President Obama spoke with Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta to inform him that he will be awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of gallantry at the risk of his life that went above and beyond the call of duty. Sergeant Giunta will be the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The President thanked Sergeant Giunta for his service and extraordinary bravery in battle.
Further information about the date and time of the ceremony will be released at a later date.
ACTION FROM WHICH THE MEDAL OF HONOR WAS EARNED:
Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.
When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta's squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.
There is so much more to this story and we'll provide the details soon. I met the Gold Star father of the man that Staff Sergeant Giunta saved from the Taliban, only to later die of his wounds. The Brennans think the world of Sal Giunta as do many of us. From Uncle Jimbo:
The 2nd Battalion (Airborne) 503rd Infantry Regiment “The Rock” deployed
to Afghanistan in 2007 for 15 months of the most intense combat any US
unit has faced in this war. During the time they spent on the border
with Pakistan, this one battalion averaged three troops in contact
incidents every day. They were right in the path of the Taliban’s major
push back into Afghanistan after years of resting, recruiting and
retraining in their safe havens in Pakistan. The Rock proudly upheld the
tradition of our airborne forces in some of the most inhospitable
terrain on Earth. SSG Giunta was a member of Battle Company and the
exploits of some of his compatriots in that unit are vividly chronicled
in Sebastian Junger’s book “War” and the documentary “Restrepo”
(in theaters now) he made with Tim Hetherington. The two spent a total
of five months with a platoon from Battle Company and the book and film
show the tremendous challenges these men faced and overcame.
Giunta was a Specialist when the action occurred and his squad was hit
with a well-planned ambush at extremely close range. He was the trail
team leader and Josh Brennan was the lead. When the fighting started
Brennan was severely wounded, their squad leader was knocked to the
ground, their medic was killed and several others were wounded. Giunta
immediately began maneuvering toward the enemy throwing grenades and
eventually charging them when he saw two of them hauling Josh away. He
emptied a magazine killing one and wounding the other and grabbed
Brennan telling Josh to stay with him so that he would get a chance to
tell heroic stories. They did get Brennan on a medevac chopper, but
unfortunately his wounds were too severe and he didn’t survive. But
Giunta’s actions stopped the Taliban from taking him and by running
headlong at the enemy he disrupted the ambush. SSG Giunta’s story can be
read in Junger’s book “War” starting on page 115.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
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Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
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Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
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Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.