Washington DC – Congressman Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, congratulated Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta as the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the start of combat operations in the global fight against terrorism.  Hunter also reiterated the call for a full review of the Medal of Honor awards process, which is expected to be provided to Congress in the coming months. 

“After nearly ten years of intense combat, the U.S. military will soon have its first living Medal of Honor recipient of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta,” said Congressman Hunter.  “It’s with profound respect and appreciation that I congratulate Staff Sergeant Giunta on such an important occasion.   

“This award marks a historic moment for our nation and America’s military.  Not since Vietnam has there been a living Medal of Honor recipient, despite years of close contact with a dangerous enemy on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Just like Staff Sergeant Giunta’s actions, there are other instances of combat heroism that deserve consideration for our nation’s highest military honor.  It’s important that those service members who risked their lives, sacrificing their own safety to protect others, receive the recognition they deserve and continue inspiring the next generation of Americans.”

Hunter worked with his colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee to include a provision in the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that requires a review of the Medal of Honor awards process by the Secretary of Defense.  The report is expected in the coming months.

In 2009, Hunter also urged the adoption of an independent review panel to consider and make nonbinding recommendations on Medal of Honor nominations.  Letter and press release available here.