Army Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta is the first living American to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. He received the medal in November for his actions during Operation Rock Avalanche in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, where he exposing himself to hostile fire to pull a comrade to safety and keeping another from being dragged away by insurgents.
Receiving the medal thrust Giunta – somewhat uncomfortably - into the limelight last year. Recently he announced his intention to return to civilian life.
“It’s kind of an awkward situation,” Giunta said to the Des Moines Register after announcing that he will not reenlist after his current contract expires this June.
For many who have met him, this decision doesn’t come as a surprise. Since his return, he has struggled with his celebrity status and the use of the term “hero” to describe his actions in Afghanistan. This sentiment is captured in the article We Are Soldiers in the Winter 2010 edition of ON PATROL.
Read more about Giunta’s decision in the USA Today article, Medal of Honor Recipient Sal Giunta to Leave Military.