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
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- 2015 Person Of The Year: David Brooks - December 30th, 2015
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- Do Judges Have Inherent Dignity? - July 7th, 2015
- Adam Steinbaugh - June 23rd, 2015