In a previous post I commented on the fact that only six Medals of Honor have been awarded for valor and heroism in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, all posthumously.
I mentioned that this was “about to change” and provided some details about the acts of valor by the soldier who, according to reports, is about to be nominated for this high honor. However, at the time, the name of this hero had not officially been released, although a couple of web sites had indicated that a Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta, a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne, would be the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
Now the Military Times “confirms” that, “a soldier who served in Afghanistan could be the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.”
News outlets in and around Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have reported that Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, who is from that area, is believed to be the soldier being considered for the nation’s highest valor award. Giunta is currently stationed in Vicenza, Italy.
The recommendation has been sent from the Defense Department to the White House, according to an Army source, who confirmed that Giunta is likely the nominee.
As the Washington Post had reported earlier,
The soldier, whose nomination must be reviewed by the White House, ran through a wall of enemy fire in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in fall 2007 in an attempt to push back Taliban fighters who were close to overrunning his squad. U.S. military officials said his actions saved the lives of about half a dozen men.
The exploits of Sgt. Giunta’s Beta Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, are chronicled in a new book titled “War,” by Sebastian Junger, and recorded in a new documentary, “Prestepo. One Platoon, One Year, One Valley”.
To finish off your Independence Day on a patriotic note , you can take a peek at the documentary here.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who has had the honor, the privilege, and the reward of serving his adopted country for 20 years proudly in both the enlisted and commissioned ranks, under six presidents – Republican and Democratic. Not once did he have the feeling that his commander in chief did not have his back, did not value his service, did not appreciate the minor sacrifices his family and he endured. In particular, never once the thought even occurred that, one day, a President of the United States would denigrate the troops and their service… would call those who did not return from battle “losers” and “suckers.”