Salvatore Giunta awarded Medal of Honor by President Obama

Salvatore Giunta, who stepped into the line of fire to help comrades on the Afghan battlefield, received the Medal of Honor -- the nation's top military award -- on Tuesday.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 5:26 PM

Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama. As Perry Bacon Jr. reported:

In an emotional ceremony Tuesday, President Obama presented a Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor, to an Army sergeant who ran into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta became the first living service member to receive the honor for action during any war since Vietnam. Obama called Giunta "a soldier as humble as he is heroic."

For Giunta it was a highly emotional ceremony. As AP found:

For Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the tribute to his heroism was bittersweet, because it was a bloody day in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley and the soldier he brought back later died.

"I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now," he said on the rain-soaked White House driveway after President Barack Obama hung the blue ribbon that cradled the medal around Giunta's neck.

The Post's Melissa Bell explains more:

During the ceremony, President Barack Obama broke from his written speech to say, "I really like this guy," about Giunta. His remark was met with laughter and applause.

The official citation reads: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007.

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