Friday, September 10, 2010

Finally - Medal of Honor For A Living Service Member

At long last an announcement has been made of the awarding of a Medal of Honor to a living service member. Matt over at Blackfive breaks the news because like, you know, the dinosaur media and talking heads cable news have better things to cover like Koran burnings and the latest celebrity buzz.

Yesterday I brought the story of another service member who had been awarded the MOH posthumously and bemoaned the fact that no living members from the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) had received the award so I feel obliged to recognize the fact that it is now going to occur. I know the last couple of days I have posted quite a bit of military news, but hey that is my background so naturally I am always keeping an ear to the ground for stories about our service men and woman, especially those that don't portray them as victims or those related to the Stolen Valor type.

Anyway congratulation to now SSG Salvatore Giunta, who was a Specialist at the time of the actions which led to the awarding of this Medal of Honor.

Allow me to explain some background on the significance of this point. A Specialist in the Army is normally someone who has between 18 - 24 months in service. I used to always apply what I called the Spec 4 test, which is what we called them way back then, to any situation. It got that name because Specialists have just enough time in service to know how the system works but not enough rank to actually be put in charge of anything. It is the best rank in the Army to have. You can howl all you want about the stupidity of those in charge while not having to worry about being in charge. A Staff Sergeant is two steps above Specialist, which means that this young man has faced two promotion boards and passed them since his actions in 2007.
When an insurgent force ambush 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 defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.

Oh BTW in regards to that Spec 4 test, as an NCO I often agreed with Specialist about the stupidity of a situation, and would allow them to explain to all who would listen how stupid it was, while at the same time giving the directives to carry out the orders. They were kind of my voice for venting. Oh and PFC's, don't even think about trying it.

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