Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta has given more than enough for his country, so why can’t we let him begin a new life for himself?

During the Army All-American Bowl I got to hang out with my old battle buddy Staff Sgt. Giunta for just a handful of minutes because he was constantly being whisked away to shake hands with higher-ups, wave to crowds and speak at events. Little do people know that he is actually stop-loss and goes where he is ordered or “requested” to go. Giunta’s day is planned for him hour by hour with full escort/protection detail, and when he gets his “free time” you can bet his detail is in the next room standing by. Does he get a chance to spend time with his friends, family and wife? Only if it creates a good photo shoot and/or another event was canceled.

Giunta just wants to spend time with his family, something he has not been truly free to do since he received the Medal of Honor. So why can’t we respect his decision and let him do so? Why do we have to make a stink about it in the papers and still ask more of him?

When Giunta and I were catching up and talking away from gazing eyes and cameras he looked exhausted, yet he still puts on a smile, stands up straight and soldiers on when the eyes are back on him. He does this knowing that he will never be allowed to make a combat jump again, he will never be allowed to deploy with his unit again, and he will never be allowed to fight side by side with his friends making sure they get home safe to their families. Yet Giunta continues to do what is foreign to him and act as a PR soldier rather than an infantryman fighting with his battle buddies.

When Giunta received the Medal of Honor, his life with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and being able to fight alongside his fellow infantrymen was forever taken away from him. We can at least let him begin his life anew without bellyache and grief, but rather as a thankful nation with gratitude.

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah L. Minor


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