Medal of Honor to be awarded to living solder for first time since Vietnam

posted at 7:15 pm on September 10, 2010 by Allahpundit

Take everything cowardly, pathetic, and low from the last 48 hours or so of news and imagine the precise opposite. If you can’t, just read this.


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

When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta’s squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.

WaPo has a more detailed description of the firefight. Giunta took a bullet to the chest (stopped by his body armor), then ran headlong into the ambush while returning fire and throwing grenades. Pure bravery? No, better: Bravery plus tactical presence of mind.

Giunta said he kept racing ahead during the ambush not out of a sense of honor or morality but because he instinctively knew that the Taliban was trying to separate the platoon members from one another. If the paratroopers had allowed that to happen, odds were they would all die.

“I didn’t run through fire to save a buddy,” Giunta told Junger. “I ran through fire to see what was going on with him and maybe we could hide behind the same rock and shoot together. I didn’t run through fire to do anything heroic or brave. I did what I believe anyone would have done.”

The guy he kept from being taken hostage later died from his wounds, but at least he was spared the torture and misery he would have suffered as a Taliban trophy in the last hours of his life. Exit quotation: “Everything slowed down and I did everything I thought I could do, nothing more and nothing less.”

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Yakko77 on September 10, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Hero. No doubt.

AZfederalist on September 10, 2010 at 11:43 PM

It will be the Office of the President of the United States of America who will present the medal, not the individual who happens to represent it at the moment. Don’t devalue the honor of the recipient by bemoaning the presenter.

[email protected] on September 10, 2010 at 11:46 PM

Valiant in every sense of the word!

FontanaConservative on September 11, 2010 at 12:13 AM

So many of our dear soldiers deserve this honor. We hear little about them. I’m grateful this young man is given this medal, he deserves it!

“Everything slowed down and I did everything I thought I could do, nothing more and nothing less.”

Humble, Brave, Valiant = American soldiers

IowaWoman on September 11, 2010 at 2:09 AM

Heard this before and was so happy.

Can you think of someone who more embodies bravery than this man? He ran headfirst into what was imminent death, some medals of honor are rightfully given those who died or were killed, this gentleman is getting one because he was willing to die to save someone, something that can be said about very very few people, ever.

Soldiers don’t do things for medals or accolades, but man Staff Sgt. Giunta deserves way more than just a medal.

Rbastid on September 11, 2010 at 2:25 AM

A true pure hero.

philly_PA on September 11, 2010 at 7:07 AM

I just found out that this young man is from my hometown–Cedar Rapids, IA.

ted c on September 11, 2010 at 7:11 AM

Funny how axlerod operatives don’t find time for this thread…

Sonosam on September 11, 2010 at 7:34 AM

I did what I believe anyone would have done.

This comment, completely honest and sincere, is what virtually every hero says. Remarkable.

DrMagnolias on September 11, 2010 at 7:51 AM

America needs a million Giuntas. True blue hero. He may not think so, but we all do. Thank the Lord for men like that.

Pope Linus on September 11, 2010 at 8:10 AM

Folks, if you’ve never done this before, go to the CMO web site and read the citations on these folks. Especially today. It will do your soul and spirit a lot of good.

karl9000 on September 11, 2010 at 8:25 AM

Tony737, I was at Spang when they only had F4s…I flew in the 82 TFS, F4G’s mostly….This was 1977-81.

And I can’t help but wonder as did Michener, where do we find such men? And if called upon, would I be able?

GOD Bless SSG Giunta. Blue skies, and tailwinds, Sergeant Brennan and Specialist Mendoza, we thank you for your sacrifice, that we may be free.

As far as the current public housing beneficiary at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave saluting this man, don’t bother….even if he were coached to do it correctly, and say the words correctly, there is no way he would ever understand what he was saying or doing.

HBowmanMD on September 11, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Err, 81st TFS. Something was making my eyes watery…

HBowmanMD on September 11, 2010 at 8:34 AM

I had a terrible thought this morning. The 9th Circuit Court has decided that any scumbag portraying themselves as having done similar deeds is not worth punishing.

TugboatPhil on September 11, 2010 at 8:49 AM

And we know what Islam does to our military if captured. Torture, dismemberment, burning alive and everything else besides religiously correct meals and PS3s. Our CIC had allowed the worse possible scenario in terms for ROE to put these men at risk.

Obama awarding a MOH to a hero is truly swine before pearl.

Hening on September 11, 2010 at 10:09 AM

What a tremendous story. It’s so good to know we still have amazing heroes like these.

Rosmerta on September 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM

I thank God for young men and women like this. I pray that I am able to pass on this type of sense of duty to my children. Thank you SSG Giunta.

rocnrae on September 11, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Truly an amazing story and exemplary behavior by Spec. Giunta. I am grateful for his service to our nation.

Given his exemplary service to America and efforts to eradicate those who ‘pervert Islam’, I wonder if his story of bravery and service to America will be talked about in sermons and leaflets in American mosques?

After all, his actions were on behalf of what they say is their nation and against what they say are those who ‘pervert’ their religion…

DrDeano on September 11, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Pure bravery? No, better: Bravery plus tactical presence of mind.

Tactical presence of mind is pure bravery. The Spartans believed that in combat men sometimes experienced a sort of possession that caused them to launch themselves headlong into combat with no thought of their own safety. They did not consider that bravery, but a form of madness, and therefore did not award medals to such men.

They were right, except that it’s a bio-chemical response, not a spiritual possession.

The Spartans only awarded medals to Soldiers that displayed courage and tactical presence of mind, because that is what wins battles.

OscarSchneegans on September 11, 2010 at 1:14 PM

What a hero! Our military is full of men and women exactly like this. What an honor to be protected by heroes like this. I am so grateful for their service.

Bikerchick on September 11, 2010 at 1:21 PM

He is definitely a hero!

On another point, I am glad they’re giving out Medals of Honor to living servicemembers. They should give out more such medals. You don’t want to give out so many that you cheapen the symbolism of it, but it’s important to have living, breathing symbols of valor and selfless dedication (who aren’t 85) to inspire the next generation of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Marines.

Outlander on September 11, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Our nation is grateful for your service.
God bless you and your fellow service men and women.
You truly are a hero!

CA_Conservative on September 11, 2010 at 3:26 PM


So proud and thankful for everyone who chooses to serve. God bless them all and keep them safe.

Midas on September 11, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Those jihadis that he didn’t kill, must have pi$$ed in their pants when they saw him running straight at them. LOL

Blake on September 11, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Well done, Salvatore A. Giunta.

RJL on September 11, 2010 at 4:49 PM

I salute you, Sir. You are indeed an American Hero. Thank you from the bottom of this old timers heart for your service to our Country and defending our Country against it’s enemies.

flintstone on September 11, 2010 at 5:50 PM

There is a kids’ show called HigglyTown Heroes, or something like that. I don’t know if it is still on, but it was a few years ago. My children watched it sometimes, but it drove me crazy. I took every opportunity to tell my children, “No, the bus driver/librarian/school nurse/pizza delivery guy/etc. isn’t a ‘hero’. He/she’s a very good man/woman, and does an honorable job, but he/she is not a ‘hero’ just for doing his/her job.” And then I would try to explain to them what a hero is, until they started crying, “We know, Mom!” Well, Salvatore Giunta is a better example than I could have made up. And he thinks he was just doing his job. Humility and honor above and beyond, to go with his heroism. God bless him.

pannw on September 11, 2010 at 6:37 PM

God bless Salvatore Giunta. His response to the award reveals character, honor, and integrity of the highest order. His family should be very proud. (Heck, as a mom, I’d carry a replica medal with me wherever I went if I were his mother. Moms are allowed such bragging, you know. ;)

God bless our men and women in service, and may God bless America.

Grace_is_sufficient on September 12, 2010 at 6:23 AM

Awesome! Awe inspiring. Thanks to G_d for American soldiers like this.

georgealbert on September 12, 2010 at 10:23 AM

That’s USMC-SOP… but good job soldier.

whiskeytango on September 13, 2010 at 9:30 AM

His response to the award reveals character, honor, and integrity of the highest order.

Grace_is_sufficient on September 12, 2010 at 6:23 AM

Check this fella’s response

whiskeytango on September 13, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta, I Salute you with the deepest respect and honor for your actions. Well done.

Your story and gallantry brings up a factual story that occurred to me a couple of days ago, and shows me how bad the nations sense of duty, honor, and respect has gotten.

A couple days ago the Honorable Senator Daniel Inouye paid a visit to Kauai on a fact finding and campaign visit. I am a registered Conservative/Republican. However, Sen. Inouye is a Democrat that has done well representing Hawaii no matter the party in control.

However, to relate your honor and my action had a large group of the audience thinking I was making fun of his missing right arm (lost in battle and one of the few living members of the 442nd). When I went up to meet him, I immediately snapped to attention and rendered a proud military salute, awaiting him to return it, which he did then we shook left hands.

In the local tabloid a picture of my actions was captioned that a member of the Tea Party ridicules Hon. Sen. Inouye. This struck me really hard because the event was held at the County’s Veterans Center.

So I reminded the press and others in somewhat harsh manner that they should understand their history better and other snide remarks when they would approached me that I am a marked person.

When my supervisor (a Political appointee, and Sen. Inouye told me I should not make fun of Sen. Inouye. I bluntly told him that what he thought was ridicule and embarrassment. was in fact the proper protocol when meeting “Medel of Honor” recipients. It is my duty as part of the Military (retired CMsgt. USAF, 25 years) to render all “Medal of Honor” recipients a proper military (at attention) salute, holding that salute until returned by the recipient. In this case Sen. Inouye returned the salute with his left arm, which is perfectly acceptable, and a smile.

The same honors should be rendered you and you are perfectly in your rights to admonish those who do not render the proper respect you, Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta, deserve for the rest of your life. Thank you for your service and a silent prayer to the lord for allowing you to survive to save as many of you compatriots while under fire. A great UH HA for you. My oldest son is stationed in Afghanistan flying Med Evac, so you are all in our prayers for the Lord to keep you all safe.

MSGTAS on September 13, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Honor to whom honor is due.


USN Retired, 21 years active

Freelancer on September 13, 2010 at 7:07 PM

“Everything slowed down and I did everything I thought I could do, nothing more and nothing less.”

Thank you, Sir.

Schadenfreude on September 14, 2010 at 1:04 PM