Medal of Honor awarded to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

Tuesday November 16, 2010

What is it?

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will receive the Medal of Honor - the nation's highest medal for valor - from President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony slated for 2 p.m. today. Staff Sgt. Giunta is the third Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan, and the first living recipient for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the medal's inception during the Civil War, more than 3,400 Americans have received the award; more than 2,000 of them were Soldiers.

What has the Army done?

Staff Sgt. Giunta demonstrated conspicuous gallantry Oct. 25, 2007 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom with Company B, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, based in Vicenza, Italy. Staff Sgt. Giunta was serving as a rifle team leader when he engaged the enemy to recover a wounded Soldier that the enemy was trying to take prisoner. After throwing hand grenades at the enemy positions in order to suppress them, Staff Sgt. Giunta moved forward without hesitation, into what had been enemy fighting position only moments before. Staff Sgt. Giunta engaged two enemy fighters and then rescued his wounded comrade, and assisted in keeping him alive before the Soldier eventually succumbed to his wounds.

Why is this important to the Army?

Staff Sgt. Giunta's actions embody the Army values and its highest ideals. His selflessness, leadership and service above and beyond the call of duty exemplify what is best in our young Soldiers. As a living Medal of Honor recipient, Staff Sgt. Giunta enjoys unique status and prestige. His humility, practicality, commitment to the team and down-to-earth demeanor make him an ideal spokesman for the Army. Staff Sgt. Giunta can deliver the Army message with unique force and credibility due to his powerful underlying narrative and attractive personal qualities.

What is planned for the future?

In addition to today's ceremony at the White House, Army senior leaders will recognize Staff Sgt. Giunta, his family and friends during a Pentagon ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17. Staff Sgt. Giunta will receive the official picture, citation and Medal of Honor flag during the ceremony. The ceremony will also feature the unveiling of his Hall of Heroes plaque. Department of the Army and U.S. Army Europe communicators will leverage the opportunity presented by Staff Sgt. Giunta's entry into the annals of American military valor to engage internal and external audiences.

Resources:

View live @ 2 p.m. on Nov. 16- White House Medal of Honor ceremony for Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

Medal of Honor Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

U.S. Army's Medal of Honor website

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November 2010

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Nov. 16 & 17: Medal of Honor White House & Pentagon ceremonies for Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta

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SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

"Specialist Giunta's selfless disregard for his own safety while defeating a determined enemy ambush and rescuing his comrades was of the quality and nature of previous Medal of Honor recipients. His demonstrated valor was in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism."

- Gen. David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. Central Command, writing about Staff Sgt. Salvatore Guinta's exceptional heroism in the Korengal Valley's Gatigal Spur in Afghanistan

First living Soldier to get Medal of Honor in War on Terror

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"I have never gone to war alone. I have never been in a firefight alone and I've never felt alone in the Army. There were a lot of other guys... who did incredible stuff. The only reason I was able to do what I did is because they were doing everything they could do."

- Staff Sgt. Salvatore Guinta, the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor

Reluctant hero becomes first living MOH recipient since Vietnam

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