Deployments: Staff Sgt. Giunta has participated in seven training deployments to Germany and two training deployments to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. He also participated in two combat deployments to Afghanistan. His first combat deployment was during Operation Enduring Freedom VI, March 2005 to March 2006. His second combat deployment to Afghanistan was during Operation Enduring Freedom VIII, May 2007 to July 2008. During this second deployment, on October 25, 2007, Staff Sgt. Giunta’s platoon (in which he was then a specialist serving as a rifle team leader) was ambushed in the rugged Korengal Valley of eastern Afghanistan. For his extraordinary gallantry, unrivalled courage, and selfless leadership in action that day, Staff Sgt. Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on November 16, 2010. The White House described how Staff Sgt. Giunta earned the Medal of Honor:

“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 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 paratrooper from enemy hands.”

Staff Sgt. Giunta was the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan, the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the eighth service member to receive the nation’s highest military decoration for valor in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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