Why Americans Take The Congressional Medal Of Honor So Seriously

This is what Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta had to do to become the first living recipient of America's highest military award since Vietnam:

In the most dangerous valley of the most rugged corner of eastern Afghanistan, a small rifle team of airborne soldiers fell into an insurgent ambush, a coordinated attack from three sides.

A young Army specialist, Salvatore A. Giunta, took a bullet to the chest, but was saved by the heavy plates of his body armor. Shaking off the punch from the round, he jumped up and pulled two wounded soldiers to safety, grabbed hand grenades and ran up the trail to where his squad mates had been patrolling.

There, he saw a chilling image: Two fighters hauling one of his American comrades into the forest. Specialist Giunta hurled his grenades and emptied the clip in his automatic rifle, forcing the enemy to drop the wounded soldier. Still taking fire, he provided cover and comfort to his mortally wounded teammate until help arrived.

While I agree with a recent Ninth Circuit decision holding the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional, I understand the impulse that led lawmakers to pass that act.  Those who would attempt to steal the accomplishments of a man like Sergeant Giunta by falsely claiming such a medal (they'll always fail) should be named in every corner of the internet.

I find it equally distasteful that a videogame manufacturer trades on the name of the medal, to sell a game that features a highly unrealistic picture of war as essentially an action film.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. EdinMiami says

    Didn't the US gov. make a first person shooter (which by its very nature would be a highly unrealistic picture of war) and market it to the general public (read: those young enough to fight)?

  2. Derrick says

    America's Army was a recruiting tool. I don't know about 'general public', but they had discs available in the recruiting offices (as well as DD). I played it waaaaay back when it was released in 2002. It was brutally realistic, it's mission was to accurately portray both basic training (without a drill sergeant calling you a homo) and combat. If you wanted to use the sniper rifle in-game, you had to qualify and pass sniper training, which was a real pain (I broke my laptop monitor when I punched it in frustration). If you wanted to be a medic you had to actually attend 'medic classes' complete with lecture and pass a truncated medic exam. Rules of Engagement were enforced, and an honor system implemented that punished team-killers (since friendly fire was always on). No blood, and a really cool system in which you were always the US Army and the OpFor was the 'enemy' (and the enemy saw the same thing). No reticle, you had to always use iron sights. It's nothing like Medal of Honor or Call of Duty, where you played Rambo He-men who could take bullets like a champ. One shot, you were dead. AA also wasn't shamelessly jingoistic, if you can believe that.

    At it's best I believe it was one of the best team-based shooters at the time. At it's worst it was a bunch of teenagers calling each other racist names and abusing the grenade launcher.

    So i guess it was a lot like Call of Duty.