Obama to Award First Medal of Honor to Living Service Member From Current Wars

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta U.S. Army

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta
U.S. Army

President Obama plans to award the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who will become the first living service member who fought in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan to receive the honor.

The president called Giunta yesterday to inform him that he would get the award "for acts of gallantry at the risk of his life that went above and beyond the call of duty," according to the White House.

The date and time of the award ceremony has not been set.

Below, per the White House, is the actions taken by Giunta that earned him the honor:

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.

Giunta is an infantryman and has been assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy since May 2004. He was born Jan. 21, 1985 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has served two combat deployments in Afghanistan.

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