|President Obama awards the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta at the White House on Tuesday, 16 November 2010: NBC News|
(Story reported by the Associated Press)
WASHINGTON — An Army staff sergeant who stepped into the line of fire to help a pair of comrades on the Afghan battlefield has been given a Medal of Honor, the nation's top military award.
President Barack Obama awarded the medal to Salvatore Giunta (jee-UN'-tah) Tuesday. That makes the 25-year-old Iowan the first living service member from the Iraq or Afghanistan wars to be so honored. Seven others have received the award posthumously.
Obama called Giunta a solider who is "as humble as he is heroic" and said the ceremony was a "joyous occasion."
The Army says Giunta was a rifle team leader in eastern Afghanistan's Korengal Valley when his squad was split in two after an ambush by insurgents. While under fire, Giunta pulled a fellow soldier to cover and rescued another who was being dragged away by the enemy.
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