A 25-year-old Iowa soldier will become the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Sgt. Salvatore Giunta received the highest military honor for heroism during his tour in Afghanistan three years ago. ABC interviewed Giunta about what he describes as, the saddest day in his life.
“It was a fight so intense and an ambush so sudden that soldiers were lying wounded within seconds. Among them Giunta’s closest friend, Sgt. Joshua Brennan. ... And that is when Sal Giunta went far beyond the call of duty. With two Taliban fighters now dragging his friend Josh Brennan away, Giunta charged right into the ambush, killing one of the Taliban fighters and chasing the other away. Giunta pulled his friend to safety.”
Unfortunately, Brennan did not survive his wounds. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sgt. Giunta describes that dreadful day.
“There were more bullets in the air than stars in the sky. A wall of bullets at every one at the same time with one crack and then a million other cracks afterwards.”
CNN reports fewer people are awarded the Medal of Honor than in previous wars. This is because the nomination requires ‘incontestable proof’ of the act of heroism. Congressman Duncan Hunters told CNN the Department of Defense has become too bureaucratic.
“I think frankly the DoD’s standard for the Medal of Honor and for other awards has actually changed to where you have to do more than ever before. Frankly some even say you have to die any more in order to get the Medal of Honor.”
Real Estate Radio USA quotes Defense Secretary Robert Gates who agrees the process takes a long time, but also defends why so few people receive the award.
“I think part of the reason is the nature of war today, in the sense that, particularly in Afghanistan, our enemies generally use weapons at a distance from us… So as a proportion, there’s less hand-to-hand or in-close combat than there has been in previous wars.”
So what do think? Should the Department of Defense lower its criteria for Medal of Honor? Or should more soldiers be recognized for heroism -- like Sgt. Giunta?