How Staff Sgt. Giunta Earned The Medal of Honor

First Living Recipient of Medal Since Vietnam War Talks to Lara Logan

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The soldiers believe an attack on the third day of the offensive was carried out by the same group of Taliban fighters who would later ambush Giunta and his men. The attack was filmed by Elizabeth Rubin, on assignment for The New York Times Magazine.

One of their most respected soldiers, Staff Sergeant Larry Rougle, was killed when his position was overrun.

"That was just a big, big blow to all of us, I think. And it was kind of, it felt like a momentum shift in a way," Giunta remembered.

After that day, as the soldiers listened to the Taliban on their radios, the enemy sounded more confident and what they said was chilling.

"They were saying, 'We want a body. Let's get a body,'" Perry remembered. "They wanted to see if they could get an American body this time."

Sure enough, on the last night of the operation, Oct. 25, they were ambushed. It happened just as they were heading back to base.

Sergeant Joshua Brennan was in the lead; behind him was Specialist Franklin Eckrode; Gallardo and Giunta followed next.

"Everything happened. The world happened in that next step. Tracers, bullets, RPGs, explosions, wings, zings, tings, snaps, pops cracks," Giunta remembered.

"I've heard a lot of bullets whiz by. But these were the most intense whizzes I'd ever heard," Perry said.

Based on diagrams "60 Minutes" obtained from the U.S. military, this is what happened: at least a dozen Taliban fighters executed an L-shaped ambush, firing at the American soldiers from two sides simultaneously, pinning down the entire unit in an instant.

"If we could have done it, we would have done it to them. It was perfectly done," Giunta remembered.

"Did you know instantly that they were right on you?" Logan asked.

"You can see the muzzle flashes. They're there. I mean, less of a distance than you can throw a baseball. They were inside that gap," he replied.

The two men at the front were down and cut off from the rest of their squad by heavy fire. "I started sprinting their way. I got about five, six feet. And that's when I just had RPGs hit everywhere," Gallardo remembered.

Asked if he was completely pinned down, he told Logan, "I was done. I was pinned. So, you know, I just started turning at them and shooting…shooting, backpedaling."

"And right when he started coming back, I watched his head kinda hit," Giunta recalled.

"I fell," Gallardo explained. "While I'm falling is when I got shot in the helmet. I remember thinking', 'Did I just get shot in the helmet? Did that just happen?'"

"Before I know it, Giunta is comin' into the open and he's pullin' me out of the open," Gallardo remembered.

"Did you think, 'Thank God he's here,'?" Logan asked.

"Oh yeah. I was on my back like a turtle," Gallardo replied.

"And if Giunta hadn't come to you?" Logan asked.

"I'd have been stuck there just layin' there for them to shoot at," he replied.