Editor's note: President Obama will present Sal Giunta with the Medal of Honor award on Tuesday. Watch live on CNN TV and online.
COMBAT OUTPOST DURANI, Afghanistan — Their memories of the firefight are still searing, three years after it took place.
"The whole time frame lasted, I don't know, maybe two minutes, three minutes. Five or six lifetimes," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta told CNN. "You can turn and see the muzzle flashes and the bullets coming out of the guns and it's not just one of them, not just 10 of them, it's more than that."
It was an October night in the part of eastern Afghanistan called the Korengal Valley, not far from the Pakistani border. Soldiers describe it as unlike other parts of Afghanistan where dust and bare rocks are everywhere. The Korengal is timber country, green interlaced with boulders. A treacherous terrain for U.S. paratroopers.
"Everything is hard," Sal Giunta told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr. "The rocks are hard. The people are hard. The vegetation is hard. Everything is sharp."
Giunta and his platoon were hiking back their base after days of intermittent attacks by the Taliban. Giunta and the others were on top of a small ridge. At the front, or walking "point" as the military says, was one of Giunta's best friends, Sgt. Josh Brennan of McFarland, Wisconsin.
Suddenly, gunfire and rockets were erupting from both in front of them and alongside. It was what military experts describe as an "L-shaped" ambush, designed to kill or capture everyone.
"It cut off our squad from the rest of the platoon, " Sgt. Franklin Eckrode told CNN. "It cut our team off the rest of our squad."
Hit eight times was Brennan. He had fallen on the ridge line. Eckrode was hit four times.
Giunta, fourth in line with the squad, was hit twice, once in his body armor and a second time as a bullet kicked off a weapon he had slung on his back.
But Giunta kept firing, first reaching Eckrode and then bounding to the spot where Brennan had been hit. Two Taliban fighters had started to drag Brennan away.
Eckrode tells CNN what happened next.
Giunta "killed one of the guys who was dragging my team leader away, Sgt. Brennan. Wounded another one. Recovered Sgt. Brenna. Brought him back to an area where we could secure him and continue the fight. Started the aid on him," Eckrode said. "For all intents and purposes, with the amount of fire that what was going on in the conflict at the time, he shouldn't be alive."
Every member of that platoon was struck by enemy fire that night. The medic, Spc. Hugo Mendoza of El Paso, Texas, was killed. Giunta's heroics meant that Brennan would not be captured and that he would be tended by medics and evacuated by helicopter. He died the next day.
"This is where it gets rough for me," Giunta told CNN. "Every time I can try to explain it and and I can try to put it into terms that people can understand it, and the more I do that - talking about it doesn't help me. And it weighs heavy on me to this day."
Within hours, his squad mates and his commanders knew Giunta had done something exceptional. An act above and beyond the call of duty, which is the principle standard for receipt of the Medal of Honor.
At his home in Wisconsin, Josh Brennan's father, Mike, is surrounded by photographs and medal citations honoring his son.
"Sal Giunta is, in my mind and my belief, a hero for what he did that day." he told CNN. "He is very modest and does not want to really take any recognition for what he did because he said he was only doing his job. He allowed us to have our son back because had he not done what he did, we don't know what would have happened if the Taliban would have dragged Josh up and we would never have gotten him back. So I am very grateful for everything that he did."
Along with Sal Giunta and his parents Rosemary and Steve, Mike Brennan says he expects to be at the White House for the Medal of Honor ceremony on Tuesday, November 16. To thank him in person.
I would've loved to see the look on Terry Talibans face when they saw Giunta going to save his buddy who was being dragged off by those sobs. Same thing in the Raq, they couldn't believe how much emphasis we put on leaving NO ONE behind, and how we risk our own lives to uphold that motto. I know Giunta feels he was just doing his job and he'd trade it all to have his bro's back, but today is YOUR day soldier, and you WILL be RECOGNIZED for it. I promise your buds are looking down on you with a smile. Semper Fi GI and Charlie Mike......
Who is this Terry Taliban? I really want to know!
Hire an editor please!!!!! "were hiking back their base" Is this CNN or KTEN?
very well written.
I would like to thank all the dirt worshipers for all the lies, bad grammar and pseudo intellectual and religious speech that reminds anyone reading it why a Western education separated from any religious doctrine or dogma is so valuable. The US never wanted to be in a dirty, hot and nasty place, but some people who think they have a direct line to God could not leave well enough alone. If you think you are winning you are not, if you think you are gaining sympathy you are not. All this carry on has served to do is put the eyes of the world and what can only be described as a barbaric backwards culture. While no one nation or people is a true paragon of righteous living there is a grand difference between the West and Middle East. We try to at least understand and tolerate the things we may not agree with because we are all in it together. The Middle East simply will cut your head off for being in the "wrong tribe" and have a beef with someone over being short changed a camel over 200 years ago. Because you will not seek peace for the sake of reason, your children or the value of human life over your mythology you will continue to drown in the pool of blood as generations of the past have. This was a war of your making and choosing, your inability to stand up, think on your own and leave the old ways behind. You will never win because the attention of the world is upon you and the insanity you would intend upon the world. Its going to stop either by your own volition or being beaten into submission I care not which.
But just so we're clear, are the people with the direct line to God the Islamic terrorists or did you mean Bush? Either way, it took both sides believing they were God's favorite to get our boys and girls stuck over there in that giant sandbox, when they should be home where they belong.
To live in Afghanistan itself is being soldier because life hardship trains you very hard!!
Praise lord every morning as you are still alive. (I did it during difficult times) Be witness if God do even a small favor to you. Pray for others who are in worst situation than you. Try not to worry. It is not easy unless through the help of Al mighty. stay away from liars and drunkard. (they don't go to heaven) Also other sinners but pray for them to know god and to be close with go. your life will definitely changed into something else better than the present situation.
Most of Taliban are Afghans and only Afghans can defeat Afghans. I mean a well-trained and well-equiped Afghan army composed of all Afghan tribes is needed to defeat the Taliban. For American soldiers who lived conformtable lives is difficult to defeat Taliban who are born and raised in dangeros mountains.
May be that is why they use drones. But for your knowledge.... US army is well trained too. These guys have mountains too in their country. Yet I agree with you as afghans know their own mountains better. But prayers give great answers to wicked rulers like Taliban. I am sure with my experience here in Sri lankan war where so many human bombs RPG and Motars , and every thing rained for 30 years. Do not underestimate a soldier who come to give his life for others. Do not be so proud of your self . This is a time many children lose their fathers and mothers and many are far away fro God with or without knowing.
Life in USA is not a bed of roses as you see in movies. Actually the men and women work much harder than in Afghanistan. It is correct if you said US soldier is from a different culture. Also you have to understand they are in your country to not to kill you. Their war is against al qeada hiding in Afghan and Pakistan borders.
"The rocks are hard. The people are hard. The vegetation is hard. Everything is sharp." ..............This is AFGHANISTAN!
Unity of people against rude rulers in stone caves are the hardest ever in the kingdom of peace.
On one side you hate US AND then at the same time you want them to invest on nonmilitary projects in Afghan. The truth is they have not waited for your advise. They have done every thing they want there and now it is the Afghan Army and government should take care of the people and must teach these Taliban to contribute to develop their country.
what justice when one does not have a right to change her cloths even in hot weather and one has no right to work or learn some thing they like and how ugly men abuse women where it is not love but the desire of soul .The way you think of 360 stink. God is far above than you ever can imagine as a slave of blood and pieces of flesh. so you give more goat milk to Barbarians.
No one will love anyone who help Al qaeda. Taliban are against USA because Taliban are depending on Al qaeda Even though... It is very difficult to fight in a foreign land ... USA is there for 9 years without running.away. Actually... Medals are for the people who can uplift the moral of others. Not for anyone who cut noses and ears of innocent women. What a Joke if they also expect Medals for cutting Noses ..so funny.
Taliban never wished to support Osama or Alqaida and soon after 9/11 incident Mullah Umar called meeting of 500 religious scholars in Kabul who unanimously asked Osama to leave Afghanistan. Then face saving efforts started and Mullah Umar made many efforts including handover of Osama to international court of justice for trial and then in the last when US forces landed in Kabul and Krzai had encircled Kandahar while Mullah Umar was defending. In the mean time Karzai made a deal and Mullah Umar peacefully surrendered in exchange for peace and security in future setup but next day Donalds Rumsfield rejected the deal and said that he he cannot see Mullah Umar roaming free in Before our eyes. This he did intentionally as he knew that 500/1000 Alqaida may not survive even months if isolated and thus USA may not get a time to establish military bases in strategically important positions for long term strategy in the region. Here we all in Afghanistan and Pakistan consider Osama and Obama two faces of a same coin as they had partnership in war against USSR and has today created a situation to justify US presence in the region and then jointly exploit the natural resources of these poor nations. DANDY kindly visit web johnperkins.org to understand what has always been hidden from American nation and always their hard earned money has been spent on purchasing of hate by imposing wars on poor nations in different parts of the world to create market for their weapons industries, known as MIC. I am a humanist therefore cannot hate Americans but when see inhuman actions by any one even the big one I condemn it as I love all and see the world a joint home of we all.
Good post,BANGASH. Thank you.
Bangash..Thank you for your long comment. I agree when you say Taliban did not support al qaeda to attack USA why I am upset with Taliban is they kill their own people as punishment.Also they dont support USA to catch Osama. (For me he is the most dangerous man on earth) One more thing to say...forgive me if you feel like I am boasting. USA is a farming country too. Also they too had to fight for their independence from Britain. People like them do not tolerate invasions. That is why they supported south Korea and. Afghanistan too..
It is very clear that God did not tell Bin to do such dirty thing. I do not agree that Obama should be in the other side of coin for the life he has spent and for the education and hid faith on God. He has been very fair to all. Even to Pakistan where we believe that bin is hiding.
USA will sell arms where people want to buy from them. They do not force any one to buy them. Once again it is a farming country ( I have been to 12 states) we get flour , Apples, animal food , special powder milk and many other stuff from them.
It is not the USA who has misunderstood the problem. But Taliban. They must help USA to get the culprit. May God bless Afghan Army and people who like to be free and be in peace with true God who is compassionate and merciful. USA will leave Afghanistan soon once their mission is over for the welfare of whole world.
They helped us during Tsunami like a true friend and we are grateful. What we believe is once action .Not what we hear .USA has proved that they are a true friend for good people And a voice for weak. May God bless Humble not the rude rulers like Taliban who suppress women. As you know USA is a home for many in this world. How come you say they take resources from poor nations. The truth is they buy from UAE and other countries. Not that they steal . The truth is some Muslim stole their Jets and destroyed Buildings in USA and stole their peace of mind and prosperity and now the same people try to justify it (Not you but few others )
BANGASH You have made the same comments many times, word for word are you copying and pasting it or slavishly re-typing it each time?
At least BANGASH has it right,kate. We need a lot less of these right-wing fools blogging in here their ignorance.
Please do not worry about us who are not in your 360 rectangle or whatever. you look after your country . It is a mess.why worry about us. You think God is with you. Yet no shelter for millions in your country. That is a curse. Not 360 blessing.
Try to understand God . NOT THE THEOLOGY.
When comparing a Taliban fighter with an American soldier, it is like comparing a mosquito with a dinosaur. Taliban fighter is a bare footed man with empty bally, with a sub machine gun in hand, fighting with world’s most powerful military power, is in itself either a miracle or simply the war between just and unjust wherein God is on the side of just therefore despite being weak, is stronger on the strongest. I neither like Taliban nor like their self created ideology but certainly have close observation on the thirty years long American wars in this region therefore see no problem in concluding that America has lost the war. Rewarding this soldier with medal of honor for having protected his fellow soldier and have safely evacuated to a safer place mean an escape of Taliban attack is a great bravery worth, medal of honor. In same Kurangal area in Kunar Province of Afghanistan, last tear, a complete military base of US was over run by Taliban and during last nine years, this area of mountainous valleys has been proved the most difficult challenge in Afghan warfare. Nine years war history in Afghanistan has a lot to be learnt from and these pro wars policies of USA in world politics, after WW II to date has just added to the hate against USA besides causing innumerable economic problems, threatening her status as world super power. Afghans can be conquered with love and affection not with the guns and bombs. So concentrate on finding safe ways and means to get out of Afghan quagmire by investing in non military projects for the welfare of Afghans.
In the long run truth win. Bin was hiding in Afghan and Pakistan Borders. If USA left Bin would have come back to Afghan . Now it seems Bin is in Pakistan (at the edge some where) Miracles happen when God"s army (Angels are at work ) Angels do not support killing God"s children. If you say Taliban is stronger than US why hey need US support to chase USSR. Miracles can be done by people who are communicating God daily. So God is in them. How come drug dealers who abuse women for their self desire win favor from God. For nine years they could not get rid of US Army whether they like them or not. May true God bring them to salvation so they can sit in heaven one day instead of hell .
DINDY I THINK WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND TRUTH AND THEN FOLLOW
Bangash, you are a pig, not a misquito! Go back to your hills and desert.
What's wrong Pfunnie boy? Can't you handle the truth? Is that why BANGASH makes you so mad? I suppose so!
If the 360 truth means suicide bombing and die in pieces ..it is better to be with Jesus and die in peace.
Dan Lafayette in... well written. Good Question
That ought to thrill the troops,Dirty Paki. YABBA-DABBA-DOO!!!
That ought to drive the NATO troops wild. OOH-LA-LA!!!
Lots of negative words above that are probably spoken by people that have never worn the uniform. Never served the United States military in any capacity. But they are given freedom of speech by someone much braver and much more an American.
If you don't like what our military stands for and our way of freedom, Russia or Afghanistan might be willing to take your sorry ass.
@Eddie Hair. Actually the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with our rights or freedoms. It's mean to generate millions,if not billions of dollars for the MIC in Washington and promote the careers of right-wing politicians.
I agree what will we do if we fail to steal their iron ore?
We can always buy it from them but the right-wing thugs in Washington don't seem to like the idea!
What kind of freedom of choice do the Afghan people have when they live under Taliban and truth of 360 degree?
Well said Eddie Hair , unless you are currently in the service or have served then quit your complaining and roll up your sleves and get to work, coming from a fiance whos husband is currently serving , have you ever thought how hard this is for the families and what we and they go through, count your blessings for our freedom , there i said it , go troops go
You will eat your words God will punish you severely because of the lifestyle you lead that leads only to death and destruction!
what 360 truth you know? From supporting a man who killed more than 3000 innocent civilians in USA ,.Even your 360 God has told to put the man to death if he commit murder in the old testimony. while hiding and protecting the murderer here you only talk 360 but not living in it. you can lie so well.
Filthy is the one who protect the Murderer Bin against 360 God. Lord has told ..If one commit murder then the same person must put to death. while hiding the murderer what kind of a right are you talking? you know bunch of laws just like the Pharisees . But do not know the God almighty. God has not given Horns to Horses if you can understand the meaning. But only to most humble and innocent animals like deers and cows. Like that some nations were blessed with abundance while proud and arrogant people have less . So they destroy others who are blessed with abundance. result of believing a false God instead of true God. you know big numbers and words but do not know true god .who Moses knew and communicate with.
. ithink taliban are much brave, courages fighters than amrican soldiers. American soldiers portrey themselves as fighting for freedom while in reality they are fighting to earn a buck. Contrary to this taliban are realy fighting for freedom.
I totally agree with you jake,except that you forgot to mention that they're also fighting for the MIC(military-industrial-complex) in Washington and making them even richer than they are now and the right-wing politicians.
Insurgent fighters are often locals who are paid $5 a day by the Taliban to attack and harass US soldiers. You should keep this in mind when you glorify the actions of the Taliban fighters, for they mercenaries more than freedom fighters.
MIC means nothing to anyone when people are trying to kill you.
When did you decide that,Doug? You know better than that!!!
This is truth of what Yakubi usually call it a truth of 360.
Taliban are fighting for freedom ? I think people are in Afghanistan especially women need freedom from them,..USA do not need your land unless they did not have to hunt for Al qaeda.
So, why are you not in the hills with your Taliban brothers? Get out of our country. We don't want you here.
Is that what you'd say to Jesus if you saw him,American boy(Pfunnie boy)? Could you be blogging under your own name for a change,Pfunnie boy? I hope so.
You must be out of your mind. I left a job in nuclear engineering to be a usmc pilot. Freedom prevails. Go do something unimportant, like the rest of your life, loser.
how about taliban or the mujahidin, i think by looking at this article, every taliban deseves a bravery medal. thats because they dont have fighter jets, tanks, drones and all the hightech weapons and money and still they are fighting lol. Compare that to these soldiers ho have every support that is available in the world.
Thank you,jake. You nailed it good!!!
@jake... you stated well, Taliban are more brave and more good fighters than any world army. Hey, just see they dragged US and NATO in such an area where every thing is hard and sharp for all foreigners and of course, very soft for their own inhabitants (Taliban) so US and NATO poor army is in trouble and their ass will be kicked as like of UK and USSR in previous years. Thanks Jake for good statement.
Taliban are so brave cutting body parts of women but not building up their country and doing something for for human welfare. Mmmmm.......mm what kind of Medal for them? May be few stones to use for their punishments. They fought Russia with the help of USA. How come you forget it so soon.
Taliban are not brave, those who can't build their country, those who can't feed their children and women are not called brave. The reason they can fight better is that they know the terrain very well and also in guerilla warfare, the smaller army which is ambushing bigger army is sometimes winner because they know when and where to ambush but the bigger army doesn't know the time and location of ambush and where they will be attacked. UNDERSTAND???
your second post make sense. yet they needed help from US when your country was invaded by Russians. In Sri lanka LTTE resistant was high and they were hiding and attacking on time and Government Army had a bad time. Yet there is a limited time for wicked . Taliban is famous for their wicked punishment for other unarmed civilians. Do not think it is bravery. Building a nation and supporting families while defending your own self is much more difficult than just destroying each and every one while hiding in mountains. US army is not hiding. They are all over your country for Nine years . Facing the Barbarians like Taliban and Al qaeda. Heroes are the people who has gone to foreign land to fight without fear on foot .NOT ON STOLEN JETS.
It's obvious for those pukes who say Talibans are heroes are either extreme Muslims, stupid, or un-Americans or all of the above. If you like these Talibans, then go back to where you come from. Go and live in the hills with your Taliban brothers, Why did you come here to the greatest country on earth instead of staying up in your hills like a boar. We don't want you in our country. Go home! I am a proud American! God bless our troops!
Will you knock off that right-wing bla-bla-bla,American boy(or Pfunnie boy or whoever)? You're no more American than the rest of us and don't you forget it!!! Not liking war does not make one un-American. Besides,would you tell Jesus to leave this country???
The taliban are awarded medals on a regular basis, 20mm in diameter but they keep ducking!
I'd rather post for myself,Phunnie boy. Thank you.
Too bad as they couldn"t get bravery medal because they were too busy collecting stones and cutting noses.
The closest you will get to war, fatso, is in a PS3 game. You've never thought of anyone other than yourself.
@joke er jake, The taliban do have these weapons. They are parked in riyahd, damascus, amman etc...wake up fool!
Jake since you asked us to compare the Talban to the American soldiers I will. In fairness to the Taliban, they are not soldiers at all. They are cowards who are more than willing to use women and children as human shields to protect themselves. Thhe Taliban are barely human who deserve what they brought upon themselves. I am really sorry that anyone is reduced to living in caves, but cowards deserve such a fate. The Americans fight with a purpose. They do so for a variety of reason you wil never understand. But the fact is the Taliban are ill-equipped and ill-trained militia who will never mount a significant offensive. Think of a single battle the Taliban has won that was not something they made up. That answer is none. Why? Because the Taliban is not an army, it is a bunch of bullys who will never stand up to real soldiers. Try to remember the times during this war that the US army used people as sheilds. That is because Americans value life.
If you really want to put this into a perspective that you can understand then try this: If you randomly picked 100 Americans and gave them a free trip to live in Afghanistan, how many would take it? But if you 100 Afghanis the chance to move to America, how many would take it? You would get no Amerians and almost all the Afghanis to move.
I wonder how many Russians were in the same position when they were in Afghanistan but unsung today. That the right-wing news media never talks about!!!
Now that's a very good question,Phunnie boy. Certainly not the people in the right-wing news media!!!
I certainly do,dwight(Phunnie boy or whoever). I really want to know how many unsung Russian heroes there are. We keep on hearing over and over again about all the NATO heroes from the right-wing media and that gets old!!!
well alot of people care just becase you dont get over it
I would like to know if you have contact information for this Great young man?
Contact the PAO with the 173 Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
Unit 31401 box 53
APO, AE 09630
I can't readily find their PAO's e-mail address, so snail mail will have to suffice.
Sorry I can't help further, but out of respect for his privacy, that is the best that can be done.
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