Medal of Honor recipient signs memoir
December 13, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. (Dec. 13, 2012) -- With no entourage and no fanfare, the first living servicemember to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam, Salvatore A. Giunta, began his Dec. 6 book-signing session at the Fort Carson Post Exchange by quietly introducing himself to those near the front of the line of more than 100 people.
Those in line waited patiently, copies of Guinta's newly-released memoir "Living with Honor: A Memoir" in-hand, as Giunta spoke with each individual who had come to meet him, wrote a personal message in each book and shook everyone's hand.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- to meet a Medal of Honor recipient," said Spc. Windell Anuntak, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who returned last week from a nine-month deployment to the same province in Afghanistan where Giunta's heroic actions unfolded.
Giunta, who left the Army in 2011 as a staff sergeant, received the Medal of Honor for his actions Oct. 25, 2007, in Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, while a specialist with the 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Reacting to an ambush on his company, Giunta exposed himself to heavy enemy fire while administering aid to wounded Soldiers. Advancing up a hill alone under constant fire, he killed one insurgent and injured another, stopping them from carrying away a gravely-wounded Soldier.
"Living with Honor," co-written with Joe Layden, details Giunta's life with a humbleness that was evident as Giunta thanked service members and spouses, who had waited in line, for their service.
"The president clasps the medal around my neck. Applause fills the room. But I know it's not for me alone. This is for everyone who has fought and died. For everyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice. I am not a hero. I'm just a Soldier," Giunta wrote in his memoir.
"I'm looking forward to reading (the book)," said 1st Lt. James Culak, 1st Battaion, 12th Infantry Regiment.
Culak said he waited in line because, "when else are you going to have the chance to meet a Medal of Honor recipient? I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity."
The book signing prompted a mini reunion when it was Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Fuller's turn to have his book signed. Now with 1st Battaion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fuller said he and Giunta were in the same platoon at the time of the ambush in Korengal Valley.
"It's weird to see him now," said Fuller, explaining that after the events of that deployment, he served in a different unit and dealt with the difficult memories by avoiding the Soldiers he served with downrange.
A number of years having passed, Fuller was happy to have the chance to catch up with Giunta.
Due to the overwhelming response, Giunta remained at the Exchange 30 minutes past the scheduled end of the event, meeting each person in line and signing every copy of the book available.
"We ran out of books at noon today," said Exchange Store Manager Amanda Kruse. Only 30 minutes into the two-hour book signing session, two copies remained of a second emergency shipment.
"There was huge interest in this," said Kruse, while waiting on a third shipment of books scheduled to arrive from Peterson Air Force Base, as more customers worked their way to the front of the line to meet Giunta.