A former Army staff sergeant who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in Afghanistan seven years ago is sharing his award with the unit with which he served.
Former Army Staff Agt. Sal Giunta, who was the first living recipient of the medal since the Vietnam War, handed over his medal to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy, WHO-TV reported.
“I want this to stay here in Vicenza, Italy, with the 173rd, to the men and women that earn this every single day through their selflessness and sacrifice,” Giunta said.
The 173 Airborne Brigade’s Facebook page includes a video of Giunta passing over the medal to the unit.
The brigade’s current commander was surprised by Giunta’s decision.
“The first thing that came to mind is, like, ‘are you sure you want to do that?’ And he said, ‘yes, I think it belongs to the 173rd,'” said Command Sergeant Major Franklin Velez. “There was a few gasps in the crowd and it was folks just going wild. That is incredible. This just really happened.”
The Army Times reports that Giunta received the medal in 2010 for his leadership during an enemy ambush in October 2007.