Medal of Honor Awarded To Living Soldier for First Time in 34 Years

For the first time since 1976 a living person, a Staff Sergeant from the US Army, is to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

The last time the US’s highest medal of valor was awarded it went to 3 service men in the Vietnam war. Staff Sargent Salvatore Giunta will be presented with the award on Tuesday by President Obama.

Sgt. Giunta was serving on his 2nd tour of duty with the Airborne 503rd Infantry Regiment when his unit came under fire in Afghanistan on the night of 25th October 2007.

Seeing several soldiers go down, he ran forward returning fire and throwing grenades to get to one of his fallen comrades.

Noticing that another of his colleagues was missing he ran over a hill where moments earlier he had been taking fire. He saw two Taliban fighters dragging Sgt. Josh Brennan away.

Giving chase he killed one and wounded the other who ran into the darkness. He than administered first aid to Brennan who had at least 6 gun shot wounds. Brennan failed to recover from his wounds and later died in hospital.

Giunta was himself shot twice but both hit his equipment and the defence department noted that his quick action help his unit to repulse the enemy before that could cause more casualties.

The White House states that the Medal of Honor is awarded to

“A member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty..”

“The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life.”

Photo: The U.S. Army