Medal of Honor Awarded

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 4:01pm

Army sergeant awarded Medal of Honor for actions during Afghanistan combat.

For the first time since the Vietnam War a living soldier has been given the military's highest honor.

Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House on Tuesday.

Even with the medal of honor around his neck, Sergeant Giunta is humble, insisting he wears the award, but did not earn it alone.

"I know a lot braver people than me," he said. "I'm just one of many. I'm, you know, mediocre at best."

On a fateful day in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley in 2007, there was nothing mediocre about his bravery.

As his group of paratroopers came under intense fire Giunta ran on instinct, right toward Taliban fighters who were dragging wounded Staff Sergeant Josh Brennan away.

Giunta saved Brennan, who later died, as did Specialist Hugo Mendoza.

"Both of them gave everything," Giunta said. "Every single tomorrow they'll ever have, they gave for their country that night."

Without Giunta more may have perished, and so in a ceremony at the White House the young sergeant became the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War, an honor bestowed on few, this time shared with many.

"I would give this back in a second to have my friends back with me right now," Giunta said afterward.

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