The president today will bestow the nation’s highest military honor to a soldier who rushed enemy gunfire to rescue a Wisconsin man. Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta will be the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War.
“It is very bitter sweet,” Giunta says of the award. “It is such a great thing and it is such a huge honor and it’s an opportunity to let the American people know how hard its soldiers are fighting for them so they can live the lives they live every single day, uninterrupted.”
On October 25, 2007, Sal Giunta was a 22-year-old specialist on patrol with 17 other men in a remote part of Afghanistan. His platoon was walking on a rough, narrow path over steep mountains when they were ambushed by Taliban insurgents firing rockets and machine guns.
According to the Army, Giunta charged into enemy fire to rescue Sgt. Josh Brennan of McFarland who being dragged away by the insurgent. The 22-year-old Brennan later died from his wounds.
“That day, I didn’t do anything in my eyes spectacular or amazing because there was a lot of things that were going on and there was a lot of danger,” Giunta says. “No one person was in more danger or in less danger than the other ones.”
Giunta is still with the Army’s 173 Airborne Brigade Combat Team, but he’s now stationed in Italy and he’s been promoted to staff sergeant.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports Brennan’s father and one of his uncles will be attending the White House ceremony. Nearly 20 other members of the Brennan family are in Washington watching the ceremony on television.