Salvatore Giunta awarded Medal of Honor

President Obama awarded the medal of honor to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta at a White House ceremony on Tuesday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who rescued two members of his squad in October 2007 while fighting in the war in Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the White House in Washington.

A U.S. Army staff sergeant who stepped into the line of fire to help a pair of comrades on the Afghan battlefield received the Medal of Honor on Tuesday — the nation's top military award.

President Barack Obama awarded the medal to Salvatore Giunta at a White House ceremony, making 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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