November 16th, 2010
09:30 PM ET

As Medal of Honor recipient, Iowa soldier in rare company

A 25-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant from Iowa on Tuesday became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the war in Afghanistan.

President Obama awarded the nation's highest medal of valor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta - the kind of soldier who leaves you "just absolutely convinced this is what America's all about," Obama said at the White House award ceremony. "It just makes you proud."

Giunta was a specialist serving with the Airborne 503rd Infantry Regiment on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked on the night of October 25, 2007. According to Defense Department documents, Giunta and his fellow soldiers were walking back to base along the top of a mountain ridge when the enemy attacked from their front and their left. Taliban fighters barraged the Americans with AK-47s, rocket propelled grenades and Soviet-era large machine guns.

Giunta saw several of his fellow soldiers go down. He ran forward, throwing grenades and returning enemy fire, to help one soldier who had been shot but was still fighting, the documents say. Then he noticed one of the wounded soldiers was missing.

Searching for his wounded friend Sgt. Josh Brennan, Giunta ran over a hill where moments before Taliban fighters had been shooting at him. Now he was alone, out of sight of his fellow soldiers, in an area that the Taliban had controlled just moments before.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Medal of Honor • Military • War
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Numbaoneballa

    If only there were men this brave in law enforcement rather than the sniveling cowards we have now...

    November 17, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. TheBlueCrew

    We have brave men and women in law enforcement who can stand side by side with SSGT Giunta. Since you don't read the news two of California's finest were murdered recently by REAL sniveling cowards who rather run and hide and ambush an officer instead of facing them for a challenge. Good thing one coward is dead and the other in jail. Proves the law always wins in the end.

    November 17, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe Schmoe


    November 17, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. K jacktown michigan

    hey cop, you guys are the biggest crooks in my town, every lawyer in town has only said horrible things, they all say the same, liars, theives, and cheats. Im sure their all just mad, no truth to any of it huh?

    November 17, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. K jacktown michigan

    i cant believe you blue crew, your starting to believe your own rhettoric, id take one like him over a hundred like you, you've got alot of nerve loser!! I owe my freedom to guys like him, you are an assault on that same freedom, and yeah ive been locked up, guilty as charged, even though i sat and watched 4 cops lie on the stand at court. I told the truth, how about you, gonna tell me how wrong i am, or make excuses for yourselves?

    November 17, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. K jacktown michigan

    i too salute you guinta, men like you are how we gained our freedom! I would love to fight with a man like him on my team anyday

    November 17, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Richard in Texas

    Ain't dead can't quit. Go Army

    November 17, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. ak

    It is sad that we had to put our brightest and best in harm's way for a war that could have been avoided. I salute his bravery and sacrifice and hope that we will avoid future wars through smart diplomacy.

    December 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |