The parents of the Iowa soldier who’ll be awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in a 2007 battle in Afghanistan say their son has only talked about the incident with them once. Army Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta called home a day after the deadly fire fight where he is credited with risking his own life to pull a fellow soldier to safety.
“There truly was that tremor in his voice and he had told me that they had lost Josh and Hugo and of course I asked: ‘Are you o.kay?’ and he said, ‘I am.’ And I said: ‘Can you tell me about it?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m not ready to tell you.’ And I said, ‘O.kay,’ and he said: ‘Mom, I just want you to talk about something else,’ And so I just stood at the window, tears rolling down, trying to find something to talk about,” Rose Giunta says, crying again as she talks about that phone call. “He didn’t want me to ask any questions, so it was probably one of the hardest conversations I had.” Three weeks after that call, Giunta talked with his parents about being ambushed by Taliban fighters along a narrow mountain pass in Afghanistan. Giunta’s mother and his father, Steve, will be at the White House this afternoon to see the president drape a blue ribbon carrying the Medal of Honor around their son’s neck.
“We are thrilled that it’s our son getting the Medal of Honor, but it’s also very important to the country, I believe,” Steve Giunta says. “It’s important to the military.” Giunta is a 2003 graduate of Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School. His wife, Jenny, is a native of Dubuque. Giunta is still in the Army, stationed now in Italy.