The first Medal of Honor awarded to a living soldier since the Vietnam War was announced this week:

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will be the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War. On Thursday, President Obama spoke with Giunta, who is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in Vicenza, Italy, to inform him that he will be awarded the nation’s highest valor award, according to the White House.

There had been discussion of whether the Medal of Honor had become only a posthumous award:

The small number awarded and the fact that all were awarded posthumously has raised questions among members of Congress and senior military leaders. When asked by reporters, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in September the issue has been “a source of real concern to me.” He added: The Medal of Honor nomination process is “a very time-intensive, thorough process. But I would say that I’ve been told there are some living potential recipients that have been put forward,” he said during a Sept. 17 news conference.

Prior to Giunta, the last non-posthumous award of the Medal of Honor had been to Michael Edwin Thornton in October 1972.

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