U.S. President Barack Obama has awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor to a soldier who died after multiple attempts to save one of his men during a firefight with Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

President Obama gave the medal to the parents of Army Sergeant First Class Jared Monti on Thursday in a ceremony at the White House.

Monti was cited for his actions in a firefight in northeastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, in June 2006. As his 16-man patrol was ambushed by about 50 Taliban fighters, he tried three times to rescue a wounded soldier in the line of fire. He was fatally injured and died at the scene. The wounded soldier also died, and two other U.S. servicemen were killed in the ambush.

In remarks, Mr. Obama said Monti's actions were not a "passing moment of courage," but "the culmination of a lifetime of character and commitment."

This was the first time Mr. Obama has presented a Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that a member of the U.S. military can receive.