Medal of Honor Recipient: It's 'Bittersweet'
Afghan war hero says he's 'mediocre,' misses slain comrades
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2010 11:15 AM CDT
This undated handout photo provided by the Defense Department shows Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the first Medal of Honor recipient from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Richard Bumgardner, Defense Department)

(Newser) – Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta has mixed feelings about the Medal of Honor he’s been awarded—the first such designation for a living soldier since Vietnam. Speaking to reporters by video link from Italy, the 25-year-old called the medal “bittersweet.” He said he feels he can’t “fully accept” the award without his unit, which is currently deployed. “And it does bring back memories of people I'd like to share this with who I can't.”

Giunta added that he didn’t feel he’d done anything special. “In this job, I’m mediocre. I’m average,” he said, according to Army Times. “By no means did I do anything that everyone else wouldn’t have done.” He said he hadn’t even known Sgt. Josh Brennan, the soldier he rushed through enemy fire to reach, was in trouble. “I didn’t run up to do anything heroic,” he said. “I was just going up and I was going to find Brennan and we were going to shoot together.”