News / USA

First Living US Medal of Honor Recipient in a Generation Speaks About Award

Multimedia

Michael Bowman

The first living recipient of the U.S. Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War will be decorated for having performed a perilous and heroic act - saving a wounded fellow-soldier during an intense firefight in Afghanistan. But Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta says his courage on the battlefield is no different from the actions displayed by U.S. troops on a daily basis.  Sergeant Giunta fielded reporters' questions via satellite from the U.S. Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy.

Several Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously to service members for their contributions to the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Sergeant Giunta will receive his medal - the nation's highest military award - in person and very much alive.

In October 2007, Giunta's squad was ambushed by Afghan insurgents near the border with Pakistan.  Several of his comrades were wounded, including his best friend, Josh Brennan.

Giunta recalled the events in an interview with ABC News.

"I think about it multiple times a day," said Sergeant Giunta. "I think about it every day.  To tell the story about that day hurts me."

Braving intense enemy fire, Giunta rushed after two insurgents who were dragging Brennan away.  A rifle team leader, he killed one insurgent and caused the other to flee.  He pulled Brennan to a safer area and comforted his friend while awaiting medical attention.

Josh Brennan later succumbed to his wounds.  But Giunta's heroism saved Brennan from dying in enemy hands.

"I will always think of him [Brennan] the way he was, as someone who gave everything for his country," said Giunta.

Last week, Giunta received a telephone call from President Barack Obama, who thanked him for his service.

Addressing the news media on Wednesday, Giunta described the Medal of Honor and the recognition he is receiving as bittersweet.

"It is emotional and it is great," he said. "All of this is great.  But it does bring back a lot of memories of all the people that I would love to share this moment with.  And I am not going to have that opportunity because they are no longer with us."

Giunta described himself as an "average" soldier.

"By no means did I do anything that anyone else would not have done in that situation," said Sergeant Giunta.

But another survivor of the firefight, Army Sergeant Brett Perry, told ABC News that Giunta's heroism is real.

"He will say he was just doing his job," said Sergeant Perry. "But the reality is there are very few people in the world who would do what he did."

The Medal of Honor is awarded for acts of gallantry at the risk of one's life that go above and beyond the call of duty.   

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs