SSG Salvatore Giunta, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, United States Army, was awarded the Medal of Honor on November 16, 2010, for actions he took during a firefight in the Korangal Valley. SSG Giunta's unit began taking fire from Taliban fighters, and according to the MOH citation, "SSG Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007. While conducting a patrol as team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment..."
SSG Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the United States Military. SSG Giunta was awarded his medal in a ceremony at the White House, surrounded by family, friends, and other members of his unit. Giunta maintained an air of humility throughout the ceremony, saying only that "I did what I did because in the scheme of painting the picture of that ambush, that was just my brush stroke. That’s not above and beyond. I didn’t take the biggest brush stroke, and it wasn’t the most important brush stroke. Hearing the Medal of Honor is like a slap in the face." He also commented, regarding the attention he has received because of the award, ""I'm not at peace with that at all," Giunta said. "In this job, I am only mediocre. I’m average....And coming and talking about it and people wanting to shake my hand because of it, it hurts me, because it's not what I want. And to be with so many people doing so much stuff and then to be singled out—and put forward. I mean, everyone did something"
SSG Giunta is the fourth recipient of the Medal of Honor from the War in Afghanistan, after Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, and Army Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller.