Medal of Honor recipient says 'freedom isn't free'
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
He lost two fellow soldiers when they were ambushed in a valley in Eastern Afghanistan. He was awarded the highest military decoration by the United States government. Saturday, a Medal of Honor recipient spoke to ROTC students at Lubbock High School about why he was given the prestigious award, and what it cost him.
On November 16, 2010, Salvatore Augustine Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor. "I think Sal is the perfect example of the veterans of the wars we're fighting now for this past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan" Colonel Winski says.
"My message that I try to get across is freedom isn't free" Giunta says. On October 25, 2007, Staff Sergeant Giunta's platoon was ambushed. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen, Giunta exposed himself to enemy fire and raced toward his squad leader where he blocked the injured leader and administered medical aid. Later in the ambush, he saw an American soldier being carried away by two insurgents and he engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. He was able to recover this soldier and return him to his fellow Americans.
"There are Sal Giunta's in every single platoon, and every single company, and every single squad on every single ship" Colonel Winski says.
"The only reason why I'm up here is not because of what I did, it's because other people saw it, and they documented it. Amazing actions happen every single day, they're happening again today, they'll happen again tomorrow. These faces we'll never know, these names we'll never hear, but this is the kind of people that serve in the military," Giunta says.
"We don't get to talk to a Medal of Honor recipient every day, you never understand how much they do for your country until you get a firsthand look at it" Lubbock High School Cadet Lieutenant Commander of ROTC, Elizabeth Borjas says.
"I wear it around my neck, but it is not for me. There were people yesterday that were engaging in conflicts around the world, wearing the cloth of our nation, and those people did not do it for themselves, they did not do it for money, they did it for us" Giunta says.
"For them to leave their families and leave their comfort zone is a huge deal and I'm thankful for them that we get to go home to a warm bed while they're out there saving our country" Borjas says. "It hurts me to know that I know two people that gave everything and I can't share this with them. I would give this back in a second if I could have them back" Giunta says, grabbing his medal.
Giunta left Lubbock High School, Saturday to head over to the Texas Tech football game where he participated in the coin toss and gave the team a pre-match pep-talk. He and his wife just had a baby girl last month and Giunta hopes to attend college in Colorado as soon as he can.