U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, Salvatore Giunta, will be the first living Soldier since the Vietnam War to receive the country’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Despite its symbolic importance and educational role in military culture, the Medal of Honor has been awarded only six times for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. By contrast, 464 Medals of Honor were awarded for service during World War II, 133 during the Korean War and 246 during the Vietnam War. “From World War I through Vietnam,” The Army Times claimed in April 2009, “the rate of Medal of Honor recipients per 100,000 service members stayed between 2.3 (Korea) and 2.9 (World War II). But since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, only six Medals of Honor have been awarded, a rate of 0.1 per 100,000 — one in a million.” In fact, all six medals since 9/11 have been awarded posthumously. For service during World War II and the Vietnam War, by comparison, roughly 60 percent of all Medals of Honor were awarded posthumously. NY TIMES