USA — Giunta Thanks Wife for Enduring Support

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2010 — Today I watched a “60 Min­utes” online inter­view with Army Staff Sgt. Sal­va­tore Giun­ta and his wife, Jen­nifer, and was hard-pressed to hold back my tears.
Rather than rel­ish the spot­light, Giun­ta, the first liv­ing Medal of Hon­or recip­i­ent since the Viet­nam War, shift­ed the focus onto his wife.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sal­va­tore Giun­ta and his wife, Jen­ny, talk with the Pen­ta­gon Chap­lain Army Col. Daniel Min­jares dur­ing a vis­it to the Memo­r­i­al Chapel, Oct. 19, 2010. On Nov. 16, 2010, Giun­ta became the first liv­ing recip­i­ent of the Medal of Hon­or since the Viet­nam War.
DOD pho­to by Fred W. Bak­er III
Click to enlarge

“She helps make me who I am,” Giun­ta told cor­re­spon­dent Lara Logan with his wife seat­ed next to him. “With­out her being there by my side and sup­port­ing me every day, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d be a dif­fer­ent per­son.”

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma award­ed the nation’s high­est medal of val­or to Giun­ta today for his hero­ic actions in Afghanistan the night of Oct, 25, 2007. My col­league, Karen Par­rish, wrote about the cer­e­mo­ny and the actions that led to it in her Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice arti­cle, “Pres­i­dent Awards Medal of Hon­or to Army Staff Sergeant.”

Dur­ing the inter­view, Giun­ta recalled his first night home. His wife already had set up the apart­ment with their things, and it instant­ly felt like home, he said.

“To be able to sit down on the couch and just …,” he took a deep breath. “That was a safe feel­ing and a com­fort­able feel­ing that I hadn’t felt in a long time.”

He then turned to Jen­nifer while she recalled the day her hus­band became a hero.

Her hus­band had called her that day, she said. He act­ed non­cha­lant as he asked her how she was doing. She stopped him after a few min­utes and told him she knew what had hap­pened. She had received a call ear­li­er.

“He said, ‘I’m OK, don’t wor­ry about me,’” Jen­nifer said, tight­ly grip­ping his hand. She knew he was OK phys­i­cal­ly, but want­ed to make sure he was well oth­er­wise. He didn’t want to talk about it, and just insist­ed he was fine, she said.

Jennifer’s pride in her hus­band was evi­dent as she described what his actions said about him as a per­son.

“It says about him, how much he will give; how unselfish he is,” she said, fight­ing back tears.

Then she turned to her hus­band and smiled. He smiled back.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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