Medal of Honor: And then there were 87

When Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Guinta received the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony Nov. 16. He is the first living recipient since Vietnam.

CBS’s talk-magazine 60 Minutes aired a wonderful interview with Guinta and several of his comrades, now three years after the action that garnered him top military honors.

They explained what happened in that night in the Taliban stronghold of the Korengal Valley. The area, near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, is just six miles long and a mile wide reported 60 Minutes, but had been nicknamed the “Valley of Death” by the Americans. Giunta’s unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, like that those before it, was tasked to take over the area.

According the The Washington Post Giunta’s citation reads:

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 ambush 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 American paratrooper from enemy hands.

The U.S. eventually abandoned its efforts to take control of the valley.

Giunta is the 87th living recipient.

Yes, he is reportedly of Italian descent. Go team.

Recent Posts