Editor's Note: BroBible's Military Week is coming to a close. Shout out to the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines for all they do to keep this great country safe. We'd like to end with a West Point cadet's tribute to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, a war hero for his bravery in Afghanistan and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Since the beginning of our nation’s conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, our government has awarded eight servicemen the highest military decoration our country has to offer, the Congressional Medal of Honor. This award is given to service members who have displayed great courage in the face of danger, risking their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy. Usually the Medal is awarded posthumously to recipients who have given their lives heroically in defense of the United States. Recently, it was announced that Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, US Army, would receive the Medal for his actions in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. He will be the first living recipient of the Medal since the Vietnam War. This is the White House citation:
When an insurgent force ambush split then-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 defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.
While on patrol in the Korengal Valley, Giunta and his men began taking fire from Taliban insurgents from multiple directions. Sergeant Josh Brennan was the lead guy at the time, and was hit by small-arms fire multiple times. Brennan was then captured by two insurgents, who were dragging him away from the rest of Giunta’s squad. Giunta saw this, and with complete disregard for his own life, ran after Brennan, killing one insurgent and wounding the other. Giunta carried Brennan back to the rest of the squad and began treating Brennan’s wounds. He kept comforting Brennan, telling him everything was going to be O.K.
During the firefight, Giunta was shot twice in the abdomen in his body armor, and a third round hit the rocket-launcher he carried on his back. And he still reached his buddy, keeping Taliban fighters from taking Brennan captive. That takes courage. Unfortunately, SGT Brennan later died from his wounds, but he was never taken captive by Taliban forces. SGT Sal Giunta was very modest during press conferences, saying he did nothing extraordinary and any other soldier would have done the exact same thing in this kind of situation. He will receive his Medal from President Obama on November 16. He’s only 25 years old. Check out this video for more info. And read Vanity Fair's interview with Giunta here.
Sal Giunta was with the same unit that is covered in the doc*mentary "Restrepo." If you haven’t seen that movie, change that. Watch that movie. It presents a clear depiction of what our service members experience in combat. And training to be an Army officer myself, I want to know exactly what is going on over there so I am more prepared. I have not been to war, so I don’t know what it’s like nor do I want to act like I know what it’s like. But it’s important to know the situation and nature of the fighting beforehand so I can keep my guys safe when I finally do get over there. Even if you are not in the military, or have any ambitions to be in the military, it’s a damn good movie to watch. This movie is all real. The men are real, the firefights are real, and the emotions are real. Too many Americans don’t know what’s going on over there, but that movie can help you understand. Watch that movie. Seriously.
All of these guys made a great sacrifice for their country and their brothers-in-arms. It takes a lot to risk your life for a buddy, and some did end up losing their lives. The sacrifices these guys made in battle should never be overlooked. These guys did some incredible stuff, and earned the Medal of Honor for their actions. This award is as high as it gets. No other decoration beats the Medal of Honor. And all of these guys deserved the highest honor given to them by the
country they fought to protect. Unfortunately, many of these names are unknown.
- Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, US Army, for actions near Baghdad, Iraq
- Corporal Jason Dunham, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, US Marine Corps, for actions in Iraq near Syrian Border
- Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, SEAL Team Three, Delta Platoon, US Navy, for actions in Ramadi, Iraq
- Specialist Ross A. McGinnis, C Company, 1-26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, US Army, for actions in Adhamiyah, Iraq
- Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, SEALs SDV Team 1, US Navy, for actions in the Kunar Province, Afghanistan
- Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team,10th Mountain Division, US Army, for actions in Gowardesh, Afghanistan
- Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, US Army, for actions in the Nari District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan
These guys didn’t ask to be heroes, but they did some courageous stuff. They would probably all say they were simply doing their jobs, just as Sal Giunta said during press conferences. They are true Americans and Bro hereos. It's guys like this, and all the others, who have served past and present, who deserve our respect. We owe it to them.