The Medal of Honor is the highest recognition for valor given by the United States, and in recent years its recipients have been given the award posthumously. A soldier from the 173rd Airborne who served in Afghanistan, though, may yet become the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
According to a feature on the Navy Times, a recommendation for the Medal of Honor has been sent to the White House by the Department of Defense. The candidate is said to be Staff Sgt. Sal Guinta from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Guinta is being considered for the Medal of Honor because of actions committed during a battle at the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan in 2007. He was said to have fiercely fought in order to repel enemy fighters, saving the lives of other soldiers. Strictly speaking, however, these reports are still considered as speculation as there has been no official word from the White House or the Army regarding the alleged nomination.
The report was also unable to secure comments from Staff Sgt. Guinta nor members of his family.
If the nomination is indeed approved, Staff Sgt. Guinta will be the seventh recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions committed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will be the first to receive the award in person, however, as all the six prior recipients – including Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy – received the award posthumously.
The story of Guinta’s heroism is told in a new book by Sebastian Junger entitled “War”.