Battlescape

Battlescape

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, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, Oct. 25, 2007.

Area of Operations

On Oct. 25th, 2007, the Soldiers of 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Battle Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, were nearing the end of Operation Rock Avalanche, a multi-day combat mission. Operating along the edge of the Korengal Valley’s Gatigal Spur, in northeastern Afghanistan, 1st Platoon was conducting an overwatch patrol of 2nd and 3rd Platoons as they moved through the village of Alia Bad in the valley below. Only two days prior, another group of Paratroopers had been attacked by insurgents in the area. As night fell and the operation was drawing to a close, the Soldiers began walking back to their combat outpost (COP).

The Enemy Awaits

While moving along the ridge, the Paratroopers of 1st squad had no idea that the enemy had a classic L-shaped ambush waiting for them. Between 10 to 15 attackers had found a location that allowed them to set up a good distance from the Paratroopers, and which also allowed them to fire from behind cover and concealment. The enemy were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and some Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and PKM machine guns.

Legend

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  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Anti-Coalition Militia
  • Movement
  • Platoon Headquarters Element

Wall of Fire

The enemy initiated the ambush with sudden and intense RPG and PKM fire. Sgt. Brennan and Spc. Eckrode, walking at the front of the single-file formation, were wounded in the initial onslaught. The enemy used an uncharacteristically high ratio of tracer rounds to normal rounds, which created a wall of fire to the left of the squad. The squad members dropped to the ground and sought cover within a couple of feet of where they had been standing to return effective, controlled fire from prone positions.

Legend

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  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Wounded U.S. Army Soldier
  • Incapacitated Soldier
  • Anti-Coalition Militia
  • Movement
  • Platoon Headquarters Element

Taking Cover

Spc. Giunta began directing his fire team while Staff Sgt. Gallardo attempted to link up with Sgt. Brennan and Spc. Eckrode. As Spc. Giunta fired at the enemy to his front, he realized his team was taking fire from their right as well, and that the enemy must be in an L-shaped position. The full gravity of the situation hit him and he directed Pfc. Casey and Pfc. Clary to fall to their rear a few feet so the enemy couldn’t roll-up through their line from their right.

Legend

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  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Wounded U.S. Army Soldier
  • Incapacitated Soldier
  • Anti-Coalition Militia
  • Movement
  • Platoon Headquarters Element

Gallardo Falls

After realizing he couldn’t reach Sgt. Brennan and Spc. Eckrode through the wall of enemy fire, Staff Sgt. Gallardo attempted to rejoin Spc. Giunta and his fire team. While travelling toward Spc. Giunta, Staff Sgt. Gallardo was struck in the helmet by an AK-47 round and fell into a ditch. Spc. Giunta immediately ran through AK-47, PKM, and RPG fire to help Staff Sgt. Gallardo to cover. By the time they reached cover near Pfc. Casey and Pfc. Clary, Spc. Giunta was struck twice by enemy fire. He was hit on the lower part of his chest, which was stopped by the Enhanced-Small Arms Protective Insert (E-SAPI) plate in his Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV). The Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon-Disposable (SMAW-D) he had slung on his back also stopped a bullet from striking his left shoulder.

Legend

Rollover elements on Battlescape for additional features.

  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Wounded U.S. Army Soldier
  • Incapacitated Soldier
  • Anti-Coalition Militia
  • Movement
  • Platoon Headquarters Element

Grenade Volley

Pinned down by effective enemy fire, Staff Sgt. Gallardo, Spc. Giunta, and Pfc. Clary inventoried their supply of fragmentation grenades and began preparing to use them. The four-Paratrooper team used multiple grenade volleys, Pfc. Casey’s M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), and their M-4 assault rifles to weaken enemy resistance enough to link up with Spc. Eckrode, who was responsive and trying to clear his jammed SAW.

Legend

Rollover elements on Battlescape for additional features.

  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Wounded U.S. Army Soldier
  • Incapacitated Soldier
  • Anti-Coalition Militia
  • Movement
  • Platoon Headquarters Element

Where's Brennan?

While Staff Sgt. Gallardo began treating Spc. Eckrode’s wounds and calling for a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), Pfc. Casey provided area security. Spc. Giunta and Pfc. Clary continued toward Sgt. Brennan’s last-known position. They came upon two insurgents carrying Sgt. Brennan - who was severely wounded - away from the ambush site. Spc. Giunta engaged and killed one of the insurgents, which forced the other one to drop Sgt. Brennan and retreat. Spc. Giunta began immediate first aid on Sgt. Brennan while reinforcements from other squads in their platoon arrived. Spc. Giunta continued to assist the medic who arrived as they awaited MEDEVAC for their wounded teammates.

Legend

Rollover elements on Battlescape for additional features.

  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Wounded U.S. Army Soldier
  • Incapacitated Soldier
  • Anti-Coalition Militia
  • Movement
  • Platoon Headquarters Element
brennan
Rank: Sergeant
Name: Joshua Brennan
Weapon: M-4 Carbine
m4
eckrode
Rank: Specialist
Name: Frank Eckrode
Weapon: M-249 SAW
m249
gallardo
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Name: Erick Gallardo
Weapon: M-4 Carbine
m4
giunta
Rank: Specialist
Name: Salvatore Giunta
Weapon: M-4 Carbine
m4
Casey
Rank: Private First Class
Name: Kaleb Casey
Weapon: M-249 SAW
m249
Clary
Rank: Private First Class
Name: Garrett Clary
Weapon: M-203 Grenade launcher
m203

Headquarters Element

2nd & 3rd Squad:

Sgt. Hugo Mendoza, 1st Lt. Bradley Wynn, Spc. Christopher Izell, Sgt. Roberto Sandifer, Staff Sgt. Josue Valles, Spc. Tyler Gangwer, Spc. Brett Perry, Pfc. Michael Burns, Sgt. Nathan Reilly, Spc. Drew Talley, Pfc. Oliver King, Staff Sgt. Curtis Brouthers, Staff Sgt. Chris Shelton