Ranger Up Hero of the Week Salvatore Giunta

Updated: September 29, 2010

I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade; this is the heart and soul of the Army’s Soldier’s Creed. Inside of your military’s proud ranks we often look to a precious and rare few who, against all odds, adhere to these core beliefs and either give their lives in service to these ideals or show such an indomitable will that they come out the other side. We hear stuff like this in the military all the time. Lately in the war on terror it’s been all about men who made the ultimate sacrifice. Some of us have often wondered what it’d take for a man to be considered for our nation’s highest award and survive. Finally, after nine years of fighting in the war on terror, we will have a hero in the ranks that has lived to tell the tell, (now) SSG Salvatore Giunta.
SSG Giunta will be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions under fire as a member of “Battle Company” 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Brigade Combat Team out of Vicenza, Italy, while serving in the now infamous Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, which if you haven’t read Sebastian Junger’s “War” or seen “Restrepo,” both of which deal with fighting in the Korengal, you definitely need to check those out.

It was there that then Specialist Giunta’s unit took heavy fire from an L-shaped ambushed and the two troops up front were severely wounded right away, and worse, they were instantly separated from the rest of the Platoon. Specialist Giunta sprang into action and started maneuvering his team to get his buddies back, despite the enemy trying to do their best to stop him. He took a round to his front plate, he kept going. He took one to the AT-4 on his back, which thankfully didn’t go boom, kept going. He got to hand grenade range of the Taliban fighters and started chucking grenades, he kept moving. The LT. was on the radio trying to get air support but the friendly’s were just too close to the bad guys, even for the AC-130’s on station, didn’t matter to Spc. Giunta, he just kept moving. Finally getting to point man, SGT Brennan he saw two fighters, including a man suspected of being an HVT, Mohammed Tali, trying to drag SGT Brennan off. Tali died and his buddy ran off with a few new holes in him, all courtesy of SSG Giunta.

Then he brought his buddy back while rendering first aid. Ultimately, and unfortunately, Sgt. Brennan would die on the operating table at Camp Blessing, Afghanistan. But he wasn’t left. His family was able to honor their son and pay their respects.
There have been some who’ve said “he only is getting this for politics and all the Junger stuff,” or “I read story X and all that guy/girl got was a Silver Star, they should have gotten an MOH instead.” My personal thoughts on that: shut it.
No air support, in the middle of an ambush where American technology counted for little and the enemy owned the terrain, out gunned, out manned, and his buddies cut off from the rest of the platoon, it didn’t matter. Salvatore Giunta decided that he wasn’t going to tap out, he wasn’t going to quit and he sure as hell wasn’t going to leave his buddy to fall into the hands of Taliban. Dude blasted an HVT and brought his buddy back, what more to do you want? SSG Giunta, thank you for showing us the courage of the American soldier, for being the latest in a line of heroes who remind us just how great the men and women who serve us every day really are.




  1. Chase

    September 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Damn fine job, well deserving of the MOH. Just be sure to edit where you called him a Specialist, you correctly stated that he is a SSG at the top.

  2. Tommy Diggler

    September 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Chase must be an idiot, he was a SPECIALIST at the time.

  3. mindy1

    September 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    He deserves this award and our admiration. Loved War, but Restrepo is not playing near me 🙁

  4. Jake Bullion

    September 30, 2010 at 8:43 am

    SSG Giunta, a hero for sure and from what I’ve read of him, a humble one at that.

  5. Jeff Ebner

    October 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    SSG Guinta to Thomas Atkins to Joel Boone. A long line of American soldiers who hold that We never give up, never give in, and never leave our conrades behind. I’ve been retired for a couple of years and that kind of bravery still brings a lump to my throat.

    God bless and keep the American fighting men and women; there is no more certain bulwark to preserve our precious freedoms.

  6. Becca

    November 23, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Thanks for the excellent write up here. I don’t know Sal Giunta but have been reading about him and have seen RESTREPO.

    By the way, the film can be seen now on most On Demand sat and cable providers. Look for it under the NatGeo Channel until Dec 8.

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