Ranger Up Hero of the Week Salvatore Giunta
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.