Iowa Native Medal of Honor Recipient Gives Award to Entire Unit

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IOWA  --  Iowa native Sal Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor seven years ago for his actions during the war in Afghanistan.

He became the first living recipient since the Vietnam War. Now, the former army staff sergeant is sharing that honor with those he served with. This week, he took off the medal and gave it to his entire unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

"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," said Giunta.

The unit posted a video of Giunta handing over the medal on Facebook. It will remain on display with the unit where they are stationed in Italy. The brigade's current commander says Giunta's actions left him speechless.

"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."

Giunta was awarded the medal for his heroic actions during an ambush in 2007. He retired from the military in 2011.

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