Staff Sergeant Giunta
Staff Sergeant Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor on 16 November 2010. Staff Sgt. Giunta was the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan, the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the eighth service member to receive the nation's highest military decoration for valor in Iraq and Afghanistan
Staff Sgt. Giunta was raised in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha, Iowa. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 2003. He attended Infantry One Station Unit Training and the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, before being assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy, on May 24, 2004.
Staff Sgt. Giunta, who was promoted to his current rank in August 2009, has served in B (Battle) Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, V Corps, Vicenza, Italy, his entire time in the Army. He currently serves as the Rear Detachment Non-commissioned Officer-in-Charge (NCOIC) of Battle Company, responsible for the health, welfare, morale, training, and accountability of all assigned Sky Soldiers, and works side-by-side with other Rear Detachment Company NCOICs to ensure all unit family members are well taken care of while their Soldier spouse is deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom X.
Staff Sgt. Giunta's professionalism and proficiency is further demonstrated by his graduation from the NBC (Nuclear, Chemical, Biological) Defense Course, Unit Armorer's Course, Combat Lifesaver Course, Warrior Leader Course, and Rear Detachment Leaders Course, in addition to the Italian Airborne School.
Staff Sgt. Giunta has participated in seven training deployments to Germany and two training deployments to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. He also participated in two combat deployments to Afghanistan. His first combat deployment was during Operation Enduring Freedom VI, March 2005 to March 2006. His second combat deployment to Afghanistan was during Operation Enduring Freedom VIII, May 2007 to July 2008. During this second deployment, on October 25, 2007, Staff Sgt. Giunta's platoon (in which he was then a specialist serving as a rifle team leader) was ambushed in the rugged Korengal Valley of eastern Afghanistan. For his extraordinary gallantry, unrivalled courage, and selfless leadership in action that day, Staff Sgt. Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on November 16, 2010. The White House described how Staff Sgt. Giunta earned the Medal of Honor:
"Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.
When an insurgent force split Specialist Giunta's squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability [to] defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow paratrooper from enemy hands."
[Biographical information from http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/giunta/profile.html]