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View Full Version : MOH - SSG Salvatore Giunta, B/2-503rd PIR


Zorro
09-10-2010, 23:30
First Living Medal of Honor Recipient in the GWOT.

This article does not do his actions justice. For a better understanding read the book "War" by Sebastian Junger. And watch the documentary "Restrepo." Unfortunately, there have been many before him and after him who have deserved the same recognition but received only DSC's and Silver Star's. Regardless... it is about damn time.

http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/09/10/45009-living-soldier-to-receive-medal-of-honor-for-action-in-afghanistan/index.html?ref=home-headline-title0

SquirrelTactics
09-11-2010, 00:42
Great news! Unfortunately the link is broken... it might be my browser.

SF_BHT
09-11-2010, 05:45
Here is more info....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_medal_of_honor

The army times link does not work...

Great job SSG Guinta

aegisnavy
10-07-2010, 18:03
Thank you SSG Guinta. Your humility continues the tradition of great honor.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/06/medal.of.honor.giunta/

MtnGoat
10-07-2010, 21:08
SSG Guinta sounds like a great NCO.

Congratulations!!!!!!

Red Flag 1
10-07-2010, 22:35
Good on ya trooper Giunta!!!

A greatfuil nation thanks you!

cmpecot
11-13-2010, 01:27
Check out this you-tube video on SSG Guinta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50RFJfUzNsY&feature=youtube_gdata&ref=nf

kgoerz
11-13-2010, 08:29
When I read the account in the book (War) I was thinking, how did his actions not get recognized as above and beyond.

dennisw
11-13-2010, 08:57
Check out this you-tube video on SSG Guinta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50RFJ...e_gdata&ref=nf

Great video. Thanks for posting it. SSG Guinta appears to be a very humble person. Nice to see.

greenberetTFS
11-13-2010, 15:45
Great video. Thanks for posting it. SSG Guinta appears to be a very humble person. Nice to see.

I totally agree,he's the kind of Hero that's made of the "right stuff"..............

Big Teddy

rudy55
11-14-2010, 07:55
Interview with SSG Guinta on 60 minutes tonight.

Richard
11-14-2010, 12:02
Today's NYT article.

Elizabeth Rubin recounts the horrific 2007 operation that recently resulted Sgt. Salvatore Giunta becoming the first living Medal of Honor winner since Vietnam. Rubin was there for the disastrous push to secure part of Korengal, one of Afghanistan's most remote and lawless regions. Giunta and the other men in his unit, writes Rubin, are angry and frustrated to have sacrificed so much for Korengalis who don't want them there. "As for the Korengal Valley, Giunta was right. The Korengalis would never leave or give up. Last April, after three more years of killing and dying in that valley, the Americans decided to leave the place to the locals."

For those who have never known anyone who has been awarded the MOH, SSG Giunta's story is reflective of why it is considered improper to say anyone has "won" a MOH.

And so it goes...

Richard :munchin

In One Moment in Afghanistan, Heroism and Heartbreak
Elizabeth Rubin, NYT, 13 Nov 2010

Three years and three weeks ago. Dusk was falling fast on the Korengal Valley. We were crouched on a shrub-laden plateau some 8,000 feet up in the mountains. The soldiers were exhausted and cold. We’d been sleeping in ditches for five nights. Insurgents were everywhere.

We could hear those insurgents on the radios saying things like: “They are all the way on the end at the top sitting there.” Pfc. Michael Cunningham, a deadpan Texan, said, “That is so us.”

Actually, it was much of Battle Company of the 173d Airborne Brigade, which was spread across the mountains — First Platoon around Honcho Hill, watching over Second Platoon in a village below called Landigal. And the Taliban were itching to hit us again.

None of this had been part of the plan for Rock Avalanche, Battle Company’s six-day mission to tame the valley before the onset of winter. But then again, that is what war is, the mocking of plans. The reaction in those moments of mockery is why we have Medals of Honor. But no one knew that Rock Avalanche would be one of the defining events in the Afghan war. That Honcho Hill would be Afghanistan’s Hamburger Hill.

Two days earlier, the Taliban had ambushed Battle Company in the forests and spurs of the Abas Ghar ridge. At stunningly close range, they had shot and killed Sgt. Larry Rougle, one of Battle Company’s best, toughest and coolest. They had wounded Sgt. Kevin Rice and Spec. Carl Vandenberge, two of Battle Company’s biggest. And they had stolen night vision goggles and machine guns. That’s why, on this night, Dan Kearney, the 27-year-old captain, had sent Second Platoon into Landigal — to demand their stuff back from the villagers, who played dumb.

For a day or two everyone had been in shock and mourning and out for blood. Now the fear was palpable. “If they can get Rougle, they can get any of us,” said Sgt. John Clinard.

I was with Captain Kearney and his command group on the plateau and soon we were helicoptered, in five minutes, to the Korengal Outpost. But First and Second Platoons had to trek back through ambush country, under a full moon.

As our Black Hawk left us off, rockets and machine-gun fire echoed off the valley’s walls. First Platoon on Honcho Hill was getting hit. I heard Lt. Brad Winn on the radio, shouting. His boys needed help. Five were down. Captain Kearney radioed commands to his other platoon. “Drop everything, cross that river, help your brothers.”

Snippets of information hung in the air. “Urgent wounded Josh Brennan.” “Six exit wounds.” “Needs a ventilator.” Kearney cursed and threw down his radio. “Eckrode leg. Valles leg.” “Who is the K.I.A?” “I think it’s Mendoza.” Spec. Hugo Mendoza was a medic from El Paso and Arizona, Sgt. Joshua Brennan a quiet Gary Cooper type from Wisconsin. “We are in contact again. Enemy K.I.A. in custody. Over.”

Kearney radioed back: “Keep bringing it on them,” and “Slasher is coming.” Someone radioed they could see a man making off with Brennan’s rucksack and his M4. In came Slasher, the AC-130, and the rucksack guy was dead. Captain Kearney took a breath and told First Sgt. La Monta Caldwell: “Brennan’s probably going to die. I would go and hold his hand and pray with him.” Which is what Caldwell did.

As airpower took over, thunder and lightning lit up the sky while the two platoons forded the river and climbed up to the Korengal Outpost.

They were drenched. Their eyes bulging and bloodshot. Their faces stained black. Nearly everyone in First Platoon had a bullet hole in his vest or helmet. Sgt. Chris Shelton dropped the belongings of an insurgent named Mohammad Tali. Sgt. Salvatore Giunta had shot and killed him as he was dragging off Brennan. “His face looked like a Halloween mask,” Shelton said. “No brains. I got them all over my hands. I have to wash them.” The only reason they didn’t take more casualties, he said, was Giunta and Gallardo.

Hunched over, elbow on his knee, head resting on his palm, Captain Kearney began calling the families of the dead.

The next morning I found Sgt. Erick Gallardo outside and Sergeant Giunta on guard duty. At just 23, Gallardo was the eldest in his squad and felt like the father. “Best thing is for us to be a family, take care of each other,” he said. “It’s five months in and we have five K.I.A.’s, couple platoons worth of Purple Hearts. Not one person in my squad got out without a bullet round. It doesn’t feel good at all.”

And they told what had happened. The platoon had waited until dark when the Apaches were overhead before heading out, single file, Brennan in the lead. (Brennan was always in the lead, without protest. Even after he’d been shot in the calf two months earlier when their patrol was ambushed. He’d do anything for his friends.) Not 300 meters on, they fell into the ambush. Gallardo remembered running forward to get control of the fight, R.P.G.’s landing in front of him, bullets hitting the dirt, and then one finally whacked him.

“When I fell, Giunta thought I was hit. He tried to pull me back to cover and got shot and hit in the chest.” But body armor saved both of them. Gallardo got Giunta and two other men and said, “On 3 we are going to get Brennan and Eckrode.” They threw grenades, dropped down, prepped the second round, and Gallardo shouted, “Throw them as far as you can.” They found Spec. Franklin Eckrode wounded but trying to fix his weapon. Gallardo began dressing his leg and suddenly heard Giunta yelling back: “Sergeant G, they are taking Brennan away.”

Giunta told me: “I just kept on running up the trail,” he said. “It was cloudy. I was running and I saw dudes plural and I was, like, ‘Who the hell is up here?’ I saw two of them trying to carry Brennan away and I started shooting at them. They dropped him and when I looked at him, he was still conscious. He was missing the bottom part of his jaw. He was breathing and moving and I pulled him back in the ditch.”

His voice broke. Everyone in the small observation post was failing to hold back tears. “He was coming to and asking for morphine and I said, ‘You’ll get out and tell your hero stories and come visit us in Florence,’ and he was, like, ‘I will, I will.’ ” Out of the sky dropped a hoist and a medic and they gave him a trachea tube and Giunta kept squeezing the bag to keep him breathing. There was silence and fidgeting.

And then Giunta said, “All my feelings are with my friends and they are getting smaller. I have sweat more, cried more, bled more in this country than my own."

“These people,” he said, meaning the Afghans, “won’t leave this valley. They have been here far before I could fathom an Afghanistan.”

“I ran to the front because that is where he was,” Giunta said, talking of Brennan. “I didn’t try to be a hero and save everyone.”

On Tuesday Giunta will become the first living soldier to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. He has said that if he is a hero then everyone who goes into the unknown is a hero. He has said he was angry to have a medal around his neck at the price of Brennan’s and Mendoza’s lives. It took three years for the Pentagon to finalize the award. And it is puzzling to many soldiers and families why the military brass has been so sparing with this medal during the last decade of unceasing warfare.

As for the Korengal Valley, Giunta was right. The Korengalis would never leave or give up.

Last April, after three more years of killing and dying in that valley, the Americans decided to leave the place to the locals.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/weekinreview/14rubin.html?ref=weekinreview&pagewanted=all

greenberetTFS
11-14-2010, 14:21
Richard,

I've got the same problem with Barry when he used "Win" his Green Beret,"earned"is far more appropriate.................:confused:

Big Teddy :munchin

wet dog
11-14-2010, 14:35
Richard,

I've got the same problem with Barry when he used "Win" his Green Beret,"earned"is far more appropriate.................:confused:

Big Teddy :munchin

But it sold more records, and the general public, is, well....

CoLawman
11-14-2010, 20:22
Very telling an poignant close to the 60 Minute interview. SSG Giunta was asked what type of soldier he was. He replied "average...mediocre." The interviewer asked; You won the Medal of Honor and you are only mediocre? SSG Giunta's response was; Imagine how good the really great soldiers are.

dennisw
11-14-2010, 21:02
Imagine how good the really great soldiers are.

Booyah!! Excellent point. This guy is a friggin classic. He appears to be the real deal also. Thanks for posting that info Keith.

mojaveman
11-14-2010, 21:58
Just watched it on 60 minutes.

Hats off to SSG Giunta and the other members of the 173rd.

ProdigalSon
11-14-2010, 22:26
For anyone who missed it. 60 Minutes Interview (http://www.cbs.com/primetime/60_minutes/video/?pid=qIQK376g1IvOY6NmV94JKEYyS20hn27B)

Additional (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOblmguY6Ao&feature=channel) interview footage.

At the 173rd Room of Honor (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-20022710-10391709.html?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea.3)

Jgood
11-15-2010, 10:43
I missed it thanks for the link...I have a buddy who served with him says the guy is well deserving.

booker
11-15-2010, 10:55
Very telling an poignant close to the 60 Minute interview. SSG Giunta was asked what type of soldier he was. He replied "average...mediocre." The interviewer asked; You won the Medal of Honor and you are only mediocre? SSG Giunta's response was; Imagine how good the really great soldiers are.

What a guy. That was the best way to end that interview!

Buffalobob
11-15-2010, 18:33
I am glad it has happened.

This is a really good thought
it is considered improper to say anyone has "won" a MOH.

spiceygoggles28
11-15-2010, 19:07
This young man is what America is all about and to those that don't understand this, I feel sorry for them. I had the honor to serve with men just like him a long, long time ago.


Jack Deleshaw
SFA M-12139
Det B-16 1st Mobile Strike Force
RVN 1968


GOD BLESS AMERICA & YOU!

gundog
11-15-2010, 22:05
It has been my honor to meet and know two recipients of the MOH. Both, just like SSG Giunta questioned the term "hero".

Well, they, and he, are all deserving of this title. I am currently reading. If Not Now, When, by Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.) MOH, who continues the saga of hero's who did what was required regardless of the consequenses, when action was the only option.

God bless all of them, they are and/or were true warriors who, by their actions, distinguished themselves above and beyond the call of duty, on the field of honor.

ZonieDiver
11-21-2010, 16:25
He is from Hiawatha, Iowa! How could he NOT be who he is!!!

mojaveman
11-21-2010, 23:12
My heros aren't athletes or actors but rather simple men like SSG Giunta who when the time called proved themselves to be brave warriors.

drymartini66
11-26-2010, 17:32
SSG Giunta: A soldier who quitely did his job. Awesome!

darbs
12-14-2010, 11:43
A group of Veterans from our area had the opportunity to meet this outstanding young man yeaterday(Mon Dec 13) at the North Riverside IL NG Armory.

A truly remarkable individual.

Having seen the 60 minute piece and judging by how short his speech was, he would much rather be back in Italy with his unit.

The civilian world, where I live and work for sure, could learn a lot from this Trooper and what it truly means to serve one's country...

I will never forget that day.

Darbs

Gypsy
12-14-2010, 19:04
SSG Giunta was interviewed (wish I'd known!) on a very popular afternoon radio show yesterday afternoon (Roe Conn). I was driving home as the interview ended...part of the recap was how incredulous the show host was over the fact that going to college was intimidating to SSG Giunta.

http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=2054981&spid=16521

ApacheIP
12-14-2010, 19:30
Giunta was at the PML today with Ed Tracy as part of their MoH series.

More here: http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/events/2010/12-14-salvatore-giunta.jsp

Thought this would be of interest, 46 minutes, good stuff.

uplink5
12-14-2010, 19:45
What a guy. That was the best way to end that interview!

Wow, this old soldier is so proud. This proves for me that what was true yesterday, today, and tomarrow is that there will always be hope for this nation as long as we have guys like this.

Also, I must agree that the end of that interview made me want to salute, do cheeta flips and scrape monkey-shit off the moon!!! Wow....jd

Ace 227
01-15-2011, 00:11
My heros aren't athletes or actors but rather simple men like SSG Giunta who when the time called proved themselves to be brave warriors.

I could not agree more. One week ago I had the privilege of attending the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio with my training company. As I sat in the crowd of several hundred IET soldiers, I noticed a soldier in ASUs walking along the sidelines before the game. As others noticed and became aware of who they were seeing a hush fell across the crowd, followed by a standing ovation. To us young soldiers, just seeing SSG Giunta is what some would describe as meeting their favorite rock star/sports star. You truly feel like you are in the presence of a living legend.

wet dog
01-15-2011, 02:43
it's about time we have a living MOH recipient amongst us from the GWOT genaeration.

I've met many MOH recipients over the years, and a few DSC and Silver Star soldiers. All in common? - "humility, love of country, undying devotion to team and regiment".

SSG Giunta, good job!

PSM
02-08-2011, 15:36
Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta to leave military

Giunta has decided not to sign a contract for continued service in the U.S. Army, public affairs officer Todd Oliver told The Des Moines Register Tuesday.

The popular 26-year-old Hiawatha native has been the face of the Afghanistan war since President Obama presented him with the nation's highest military award in November.

"SSG Giunta's military service will end on or about 13 June," Oliver wrote in an e-mail from Italy.

Giunta is a noncommissioned officer in the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. He is currently assigned to a base in Vincenza, Italy, called Caserma Ederle, where he aids military operations in Afghanistan.

()

He has handled his new fame with humility and reluctance. Giunta has said the praise for his actions was hard to swallow because two of his friends were killed in the ambush in October 2007.

"It's kind of an awkward situation," Giunta told the Register in a telephone interview in October 2010. "Every single person I was with would have done what I did, possibly even better, but they were doing other things. So for a medal to be awarded to me for actions that are 'above and beyond,' sometimes it's hard for me to stomach hearing that."

USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2011-02-08-medal-of-honor-recipient-giunta_N.htm)

Salute, SSG Giunta.

Pat

wet dog
02-08-2011, 23:49
I wish SSG Giunta the very best in his soon to be near future. May he find work he enjoys, time with family, new friends, old friends, all the best that life has to offer.

Thank you SSG Giunta, thanks for showing up.

Dozer523
02-09-2011, 07:34
Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta to leave military
Salute, SSG Giunta. Pat
I hope he doesn't regret leaving.
Maybe he's getting trotted out a little much by Mother Army (she is rightly proud) and that probably is tiresome for a Soldier and a Leader.
I keep thinking of what happened to the Marines discribed in Flag of Our Fathers .
Lots of hooplah now SSG, but I'm sure you'll be allowed to Soldier and Lead if you stay. You can do a lot more good in.
Good Luck, I salute you.

greenberetTFS
02-09-2011, 08:35
I hope he doesn't regret leaving.
Maybe he's getting trotted out a little much by Mother Army (she is rightly proud) and that probably is tiresome for a Soldier and a Leader.
I keep thinking of what happened to the Marines discribed in Flag of Our Fathers .
Lots of hooplah now SSG, but I'm sure you'll be allowed to Soldier and Lead if you stay. You can do a lot more good in.
Good Luck, I salute you.

I believe Dozer has a valid point............He would do more good by saying in,but he wants to leave so we should let him leave with Dignity and Honor.............:):):)

Big Teddy :munchin

cat in the hat
02-09-2011, 09:04
SSG Guintasays in the Army times story, that he is looking at CSU.
Fort Collins is a great place to live and CSU is a good school.
if he regrets leaving, he can always join 5-19th or COARNG's new infantry BN.

The Reaper
02-09-2011, 10:50
I saw him during the Superbowl broadcast. He looked tired.

Probably like a lottery winner, he has all sorts of people asking him to do things for them.

Tough to be the first, after nine years of war. I suspect that he would like a much lower profile, and the Army will not let him do that.

I wish him the very best, and hope that life is kind to him. Thank you, SSG Giunta.

TR

Richard
02-09-2011, 10:57
I hope he has some good friends and a strong family to support him as he bears the onerous task of being a MOH recipient for the rest of his life; he'll need them.

I, too, wish him all the best in whatever his future holds for him.

Richard

ZonieDiver
02-09-2011, 12:56
I keep thinking of what happened to the Marines discribed in Flag of Our Fathers .

When I've heard him speak on television, and read some of his comments - especially his latest, that is the first thing that popped into my mind. I started thinking about Ira Hayes...

Whatever he does, I wish him the best. CSU is a great school (produces the best veteranarians in the world!).

PSM
02-09-2011, 13:24
Would the MOH keep him out of combat?

Our son is an ME Junior at CSU, and in the CONG. :cool:

Pat

lksteve
02-09-2011, 17:45
I glimpsed at the headlines on the local rag (The Coloradoan) and it seems the good SSG is leaving the Army and enrolling in Colorado State...I can't confirm it, but I'm sure the paper got it right...:rolleyes:

http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110209/NEWS01/102090354/Medal-of-honor-winner-Sal-Giunta-moving-to-Fort-Collins