The parents of the soldier from Iowa who has won the Medal of Honor say their son was able to focus what had been boundless energy into a team effort in the military. Sergeant Salvatore “Sal” Giunta learned in a phone call from President Obama last week that he would win the award for his actions in Afghanistan.
Steve Giunta says his son was always energetic and athletic and a handful as a young kid. Giunta says his son has “lived life large and full, and he still does that, in a much more healthy way than when he was maybe a teenage, just like many of us.” Giunta says Sal found a way to use his energy after joining the military at age 18.
He says Sal found his niche and an outlet to turn his energy into something very, very positive. Giunta says, “It’s just fun to watching your children grow, to be able to you know, hug them like a child, and they go away to become soldiers, and they come back men.” The Giuntas live in Hiawatha and their son graduated from Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School.
Sal Giunta had charged enemy insurgents when they tried to capture two of his wounded comrades and fired on them and kept them from taking away his fellow soldiers. Both of the soldiers later died from their wounds. Sal’s mother Rose says it was not easy for her 25-year-old son to talk about the action that led to his award. She says he called her and she could tell that something wasn’t right in his voice.
Rose says Sal asked her to just talk to him and she knew that meant he wanted to talk about something else. Rose says a few weeks later her son did talk a little about what happened, but not a lot of detail. Rose says they had a 20 minute conversation and she learned that two men had died and everyone had been hit, including Sal, but he did not get wounded.
Giunta will receive the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony. The time for that ceremony has not yet been set.