Monday, December 31, 2012

The Civil War Leatherneck

1 January 1861

U.S. Marine Corps had only 1,892 officers and men

Early in 1861, the Union Navy lost most of its bases in the southern states. Notably, Floridian authorities leading an Alabama militia unit took over the Pensacola Navy Yard in Florida on January 16 and forced Marine Captain Josiah Watson to sign a pledge not to bear arms against the state of Florida. Other Floridian troops took control of all of Pensacola's forts except Fort Pickens. In April 1861, Marine Lieutenant John Cash and 110 Union Marines and assorted Union Infantry occupied Fort Pickens and held it until a larger garrison could take control of it. The Union controlled Fort Pickens throughout the Civil War.

The secession of Virginia from the Union forced Marines from the Cumberland, the Pawnee, and the Pennsylvania to destroy the Norfolk Navy Yard. Other battalions were deployed quickly to the Brooklyn and Philadelphia Navy Yards for guard duty, and another battalion provided security for the recaptured Norfolk Navy Yard in May 1862.

The last such battalion, a small unit of only 112 men commanded by Major Addison Garland, suffered the most embarrassing Marine defeat during the Civil War. Sent to Mare Island Navy Yard near San Francisco, the entire unit was captured by Captain Raphael Semmes commanding the Confederate ship Alabama off the coast of Cuba on December 7, 1862. Semmes forced the Marines to sign promissory notes not to bear arms against the Confederacy and sent them on their way.

The relatively minor role the Union Marines played during the Civil War was partially due to the small size of the Corps. On January 1, 1861, the U.S. Marine Corps numbered only 1,892 officers and men. To compensate for various losses, 38 new officers were appointed early in 1861. In July, Congress increased the size of the Corps by another 28 officers and 750 men, and President Lincoln authorized two 500-man increases in 1861.

Commandant Harris understood the primary role of the Marine Corps to be shipboard service, much as it had done during the War of 1812. The main strategy of the Union was to force the surrender of the Confederacy by blockading the Atlantic coast, a task for which the Marine Corps would be well suited.

In addition, the Union sought to capture the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia. This task was given to Major General Irvin McDowell, who left Washington on July 16, 1861, at the head of some 35,000 troops. Included in this force was 1 small Marine battalion consisting of 12 officers and 336 men. Commandant Harris assigned Major John Reynolds, whose career stretched back to the Seminole War and who was one of the few veteran officers remaining in the Union Marine Corps, to command the battalion. Brevet Major Jacob Zeilin, another experienced commander, volunteered to command one of the battalion's four companies. The other officers and enlisted men in the battalion had little experience, however.

Five days later, on July 21, the Union Army was confronted by a Confederate brigade under the command of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The Marines were assigned to support an artillery battery during the confrontation and soon found themselves caught in the midst of the Battle of Bull Run. The artillery battery the Marines were supporting changed hands three times during the battle until Confederate reinforcements appeared and tipped the battle in their favor. The Union Army, and the Marine battalion with it, dissolved. Bull Run was the only land-based battle in which the Marines participated during the Civil War. For the rest of the conflict, the Marine Corps performed its traditional role of supporting naval actions and engaging in amphibious assaults.

In December 1861, Marines destroyed a Confederate headquarters near Charleston, North Carolina, after the Dale had bombarded it. In January 1862, the Marine detachment from the Hatteras landed and burned Confederate stores at Cedar Keys, Florida.

By the end of December, 1864, Wilmington was the Confederacy's only remaining Atlantic port. Wilmington itself was stuated on the Cape Fear River some 10 miles inland. The mouth of the Cape Fear River was guarded by the impressive Fort Fisher situated on a peninsula. One wing of the fort bisected the peninsula while a second wing turned perpendicular to the first and stretched along the Atlantic face of the peninsula. The landward face of the fort, the face that bisected the peninsula, mounted some 20 cannons. Fifty feet in front of the gun emplacements was a palisade of sharply pointed logs driven into the earth, and 500 feet in front of the palisade was a minefield controlled by electric detonators. A small battery had been emplaced at the point of the peninsula to prevent enemy ships from entering the Cape Fear River and attacking the fort from behind.

A Union fleet approached Fort Fisher on January 12, 1865, commanded by Rear Admiral David Porter. Union troops began landing on the peninsula on January 13 and started erecting gun emplacements. The next day, the fleet and the landed guns began bombarding Fort Fisher, and by mid-afternoon on January 15, all but one of the fort's guns had been disabled, the wires controlling the minefield had been severed, and the palisade had been breached.

Union forces launched two separate attacks against the landward face of Fort Fisher. Major General Alfred Terry led the Army Infantry along the riverbank while a naval brigade under Lieutenant Commander K. R. Breese, Porter's chief of staff, attacked along the seashore. The naval brigade included 1,600 sailors from the fleet led by their officers and a 400-man Marine battalion under the command of Captain Lucian Dawson. The Marine battalion advanced along the seashore with the intention of occupying successive trenches as it went and laying down covering fire for the advance of the sailors.

Dawson's battalion barely reached the second of three trenches when Breese sent him new orders, however. Believing that the slope of the beach provided sufficient cover, Breese Joined Dawson there and then ordered the entire brigade, sailors and Marines both, to charge 600 yards down the beach at Fort Fisher. The Confederate defenders fired into the charging mass as quickly as they could and managed to break the rush about 50 yards from the fort.

Captain Dawson caught up to the leading Marine companies just as the charge faltered and ordered two companies to take cover and fire at the parapet as the rest of the brigade, including two Marine companies, fled. Once the rest of the naval brigade was out of range, Dawson and the remainder of his Marines withdrew. Breese later blamed the failure of the assault on the "absence" of the Marine battalion, though he was generous enough to comment that its absence was due to poor planning rather than cowardice. Nevertheless, although some of the Marines fled, Dawson had been able to rally many of his men and performed an important role in the withdrawal of the brigade. Of the 351 casualties suffered by the naval brigade, the Marine battalion lost 16 men killed or missing and 41 wounded. Dawson and seven other Marine officers received brevet promotions and seven enlisted men were awarded Medals of Honor.

The battle for Fort Fisher raged for five hours, until another Union brigade arrived to reinforce the assault, and the defense began to crumble. While the naval attack was unsuccessful, the Army assault was able to capture the fort from the landside. The Union had captured Fort Fisher and with it control of the Cape Fear River, effectively isolating Wilmington.

The Confederate Congress established its own Marine Corps on March 16, 1861. Initially, it was planned that the Confederate Marine Corps would consist of 6 companies, each of which would be made up of a captain, first and second lieutenants, 8 noncommissioned officers, 2 musicians, and 100 men. After Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy, the Confederate Corps was increased to 10 companies - 46 officers and 944 men - and a headquarters unit consisting of a commandant with the rank of colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major, an adjutant, a paymaster and quartermaster, a sergeant major, a quartermaster sergeant, and two musicians was established. The Confederate Corps never realized these authorized strengths, however.

Twenty U.S. Marine Corps officers left the Union and joined the Confederacy, 19 of whom accepted commissions in the Confederate States Marine Corps - the twentieth joined the Confederate Army. These men represented some of the most experienced officers then on active dury, including the adjutant officer and inspector of the Marine Corps, Major Henry Tyler, a 38-year veteran and commander of the Washington Barracks; Captain George Terrett, the hero of Chapultepec; Captains Algernon Taylor and Robert Tansill, who had been recognized for their valor during the Mexican War; Captain John Simms, who had led the assault on the Barrier Forts in China; and First Lieutenant Israel Greene, who had led the assault against John Brown's raiders at Harper's Ferry. Tyler was commissioned as the Confederate Corps's lieutenant colonel and Terrett as its major. Taylor was commissioned as quartermaster and Greene as the Corps's adjutant officer. Lloyd Beall was commissioned as Commandant Colonel of the Confederate Marine Corps. Beall probably owed this privilege to his acquaintance with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, whom he had met at West Point, the U.S. Military Academy, and with whom he served in the 2nd Dragoons before accepting a position as paymaster major, the post he resigned when the Civil War began.

The Confederate Marine Corps enlisted the first Marines in March 1861, and by July, three companies of Marines had been raised. Marine Guard detachments were raised for the CSS Sumter and the gunboat McRae as well. Confederate Marines saw their first action in July, occupying Ship Island off the coast from Biloxi, Mississippi.

Confederate marines played more than a defensive role during the Civil War. In February 1864, the Confederates launched a combined assault on a Union base on the Neuse River near New Bern, North Carolina. The Confederate Navy and Marine Corps were responsible for dealing with any Union Navy ships that might come to the aid of the Union Army when the Confederate Army attacked.

John Taylor Wood, who held commissions as a colonel in the Confederate Army and as a commander in the Confederate Navy, commanded the Confederate naval forces for the assault on New Bern. His command consisted of 115 naval officers and men from the James River Squadron, 10 midshipmen from the Naval Academy, and 25 Marines from Company C stationed at Camp Beall.

The attack began on February 1, 1864, but the Confederate Army's assault broke down almost immediately. Wood decided to continue with the naval side of the operation and sought out Union gunboats. very early on the morning of February 2, Wood's boats found the Union gunboat Underwriter and closed with it. The Confederate Marines exchanged heavy fire with the Underwriter and then boarded her and captured her after a vicious melee. Four Confederate sailors and one Marine were killed in the action, and another seven sailors and four Marines were wounded. Nine Union sailors were killed, another nineteen were wounded, and twenty-three managed to escape. Union forces on the shore began shelling the captured gunboat, and Wood decided to set the gunboat on fire and abandon it.

The fall of Fort Fisher essentially ended the participation of Union Marines during the American Civil War, but the war was not yet over for the Confederate Marine Corps. Charleston, South Carolina, finally gave in to Sherman's Army on February 17, 1865. Commodore John Tucker, the commander of the Charleston Squadron, scuttled his ships and led his sailors and Marines north to Richmond, where he incorporated the remaining Marines at Drewry's Bluff to form Tucker's Naval Brigade. Captain Tattnall led Marine Company E into North Carolina where it remained for the rest of the war.

On April 2, 1865, the Union Army broke through Confederate lines just south of Petersburg. Facing a two-to-one disadvantage, General Lee recommended to President Davis that Richmond be evacuated. Tucker's Naval Brigade joined Lee's Army as it marched south. Union cavalry easily kept pace with the retreating Confederate Army and attacked its flank and rear, slowing the Confederate column enough for Union Infantry to engage it in combat. Captain Terrett and a unit of Confederate Marines were captured in just such an engagement at Amelia Court House on April 5, 1865.

Union harassment compelled Lieutenant General Richard Ewell's Corps, including Tucker's Naval Brigade, to halt along Saylor's Creek. The Union artillery bombarded the ridge on which Ewell's troops were positioned, and then the Infantry advanced across the creek and up the slope. As the Union Army started up the slope, Ewell gave the command to counterattack, and the regiment, including Tucker's Naval Brigade with its Marine battalion, now commanded by Captain Simrns, charged down the slope and pushed the Union Army back.

Despite such a heroic effort, Ewell's regiment was enveloped by two other Union divisions, and Ewell reluctantly surrendered. Tucker's Naval Brigade, unaware of the Union envelopment and Ewell's surrender, withdrew farther south, where it was able to secret itself in a densely wooded ravine. A Union general accidentally discovered the brigade that evening and returned under truce to inform Tucker of his situation. Tucker, too, reluctantly surrendered when he learned that he was surrounded by Union forces.

Captain Simms, 6 other Marine officers, and approximately 45 Marines were captured along with Tucker's Naval Brigade. A few Confederate Marines had managed to escape capture on April 6, and so 4 Marine officers and 25 Marines, including First Lieutenant Richard Henderson, accompanied General Lee when he signed the surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 6.

The remnant of the James River Squadron, too, had been ordered to join Lee's march south. Admiral Semmes, the commander of the squadron, scuttled his ships on April 2 and then led his 500 sailors and Marines to join Lee, only to find the Army had already left. Semmes organized a train at the railroad station in Richmond and proceeded to Danville, Virginia, arriving there on April 4 to find the Confederate government already established in the little town. On April 5, Semmes's men were organized into an artillery brigade, and Semmes was given command of it as a brigadier general of the Confederate Army. On April 10, however, news arrived that Lee had surrendered at Appomattox, and the Confederate government fled farther south. Semmes's brigade was attached to the Army of North Carolina for the rest of April, but surrendered at Greensboro on May 1.

Confederate Marine Company C; had managed to survive the battle at Mobile Bay and continued to serve in the defense of the city of Mobile from March 27 until April 12, when the city fell to Union forces. It retreated up the Mobile River with the remnants of the Mobile Squadron to Nanna Hubba Bluff, where the squadron surrendered on May 10. The Civil War ended for the Confederate Marines with the surrender of the few Marines attached to the Mobile Squadron.

The Union Marine Corps had lost 77 men dead, 131 wounded, and 142 captured during the Civil War. Another 257 died of causes unrelated to combat. Two hundred fifty Confederate Marines are known to have been captured, but the lack of records prevents an estimation of other casualties on the Confederate side.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

  • Littleton Waller Tazewell Waller, Sr., Major - USMC

  • Date of birth: September 26, 1856
  • Date of death: 13-Jul-26
  • Burial Location: Arlington, VA
  • Place of Birth: Virginia

  • During the British Naval bombardment of Alexandria in the summer of 1882, Littleton Waller commanded U.S. Marines in the U.S. Naval landing force landed to protect the American consulate and American citizens. A ten-day standoff ended with the arrival of a four thousand-man British relief force. During Admiral Dewey's naval battle of Manila Harbor in the Spanish-American War, after the Spanish ships had been destroyed, Waller was awarded the now-obsolete Specially Meritorious Service Medal for his work to rescue survivors. That award was similar to the subsequent Navy and Marine Corps Medal and Waller is the only-known Marine Corps Recipient. He was court martialled and acquitted for actions during the Philippine Insurrection where he led an ill-fated expedition across the island of Samar. He retired in 1920 as a Major General. His son, Littleton W. T., Jr., also served 40 years in the Marine Corps earning the Navy Cross and 3 Silver Stars in WWI, and retiring as a Major General. Another son, J.B.W. Waller, retired as a Navy Rear Admiral and his third son achieved the rank of Colonel of Marines.
  • Awards and Citations
  1. Marine Corps Brevet Medal Awarded for actions during the China Relief
    The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in transmitting to Major Littleton Waller Tazewell Waller, Sr., United States Marine Corps, the Brevet Medal which is awarded in accordance with Marine Corps Order No. 26 (1921), for distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy, near Tientsin, China, on 13 July 1900. On 28 March 1901, Major Waller, is appointed Lieutenant Colonel, by brevet, to take rank from 13 July 1900.
  2. General Orders: Marine Corps Orders No. 26 (June 27, 1921
  3. Action Date: 13-Jul-00
  4. Service: Marine Corps

    Rank: Major

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

United States Army

Salvatore Augustine "Sal" Giunta, born January 21, 1985) is a former staff sergeant in the United States Army. He was the first living person to receive the United States Armed Forces' highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, for actions that occurred after the Vietnam War. Giunta was cited for saving the lives of members of his squad on October 25, 2007 during the War in Afghanistan. He left the Army in June 2011 and is currently attending university in Colorado.

Personal life

Giunta was born in Clinton, Iowa, on January 21, 1985, to an Italian American family. Giunta grew up in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha. His parents, Steven, a medical equipment technician, and Rosemary, a preschool teacher, live in Hiawatha. He has two younger siblings, Mario and Katie. Giunta attended John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids. At age 17, while working in a Subway sandwich shop, he decided to enlist and joined the Army in November 2003.

Giunta and Jennifer Lynn Mueller, a native of Dubuque, were married in October 2009 after dating for several years. The couple are now parents of a daughter born on October 6, 2011.

Military career

Giunta attended basic training and infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was deployed to Afghanistan from March 2005 until March 2006 and again from May 2007 until July 2008. He was promoted to staff sergeant in August 2009. Giunta was last stationed at Caserma Ederle, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team's base near Vicenza, Italy. He served in the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and worked in a support role for members of his unit then deployed in Afghanistan.

In 2007, Giunta was stationed at Firebase Vegas in the Korengal Valley, an area about 9.7 by 1.6 kilometres (6.0 mi × 0.99 mi) near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, nicknamed by the soldiers as the Valley of Death. In late October, his company launched a six-day mission known as Operation Rock Avalanche. On October 23, Taliban fighters killed respected Staff Sergeant Larry Rougle and wounded two other infantrymen when Rougle's position on "Honcho Hill" was overrun. On October 25, company commander Captain Dan Kearney sent 2nd and 3rd Platoon back to meet with the local village elders and to recover from them the U.S. equipment that the Taliban had captured when Rougle was killed. 1st Platoon was tasked with providing protective cover and interdicting enemy forces from a nearby ridge.

Medal of Honor action

Shortly after nightfall on October 25, 2007, rifle team leader Giunta and the rest of the seven troops of 1st Platoon had just finished a day-long overwatch of 2nd and 3rd Platoon in the valley below. Although dark, there was sufficient moonlight that night vision equipment was not needed. They were returning to Combat Outpost Vimoto and Korengal Outpost. They walked about 10 to 15 feet (3.0-4.6 m) apart through the thin holly forest, along the Gatigal Spur of Honcho Hill at about 2,438 metres (7,999 ft) elevation.

Within 50 to 100 metres (160-330 ft) of leaving their position, 10 to 15 insurgents ambushed the main body of the squad from cover and concealment only about 10 metres (33 ft) away, so near that the Apaches overhead could not provide close air support. The ambushing force was armed with AK-47 assault rifles, 10 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers and four belt-fed PKM machine guns. They fired an unusually high proportion of tracer rounds. Giunta described it later
There were more bullets in the air than stars in the sky. A wall of bullets at every one at the same time with one crack and then a million other cracks afterwards. They're above you, in front of you, behind you, below you. They’re hitting in the dirt early. They're going over your head. Just all over the place. They were close as close as I've ever seen.
Sergeant Joshua Brennan, leader of alpha team and one of Giunta's best friends, was walking point. He was followed by SPC Frank Eckrode, squad leader Erick Gallardo, and then Giunta, who was then a specialist. PFC Kaleb Casey and Garret Clary followed Giunta. A 13-man Headquarters (HQ) unit led by Lt. Brad Winn, including a five-man gun team from weapons squad, along with a nurse who volunteered for the mission, followed immediately behind them. When the Taliban opened fire, Brennan was struck by eight rounds and Eckrode was hit by four rounds. Gallardo attempted to sprint forward, but RPGs exploding among the thin trees and 18 inches (46 cm)-high bushes around him along with machine gun and small arms fire stopped him. Unable to advance, he fell back to join Giunta's bravo team. While backpedaling and firing at the same time, he fell and was in the same moment struck in the helmet by an AK-47 round. An RPG round struck very near Giunta, who was returning fire and directing bravo team from a small defilade. Giunta was puzzled that the lip of the small depression he lay in was not protecting him from rounds cracking by his head, that they appeared to be coming from the north as well as the west.

Giunta saw Gallardo take the bullet to his head and fall. Assuming Gallardo had been shot, Giunta rose and ran through the intense wall of fire to his side. As he helped the uninjured sergeant find cover, the ceramic plate in the front of Giunta's protective vest was struck by a bullet. Another round struck the SMAW-D weapon slung over his back. Giunta recognized that the extremely heavy tracer fire was coming not just from his west but from the north as well, a classic L-shaped ambush that threatened to roll over the squad. He ordered Casey and Clary to pull back a few steps to prevent the Taliban from flanking them. Casey was firing his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon cyclic and Clary was firing his M203 grenade launcher as well.

The platoon leader in the HQ unit, Lieutenant Brad Winn, radioed Captain Kearney to advise him that their unit had five wounded men. The squad's medic, Specialist Hugo Mendoza, was among them. He had been shot through the femoral artery at the beginning of the ambush and died. Kearney ordered Second Platoon to assist Winn's platoon, but Second Platoon was in the valley below, some distance away, and had to first cross a river to reach them.

Giunta and Gallardo gathered Casey and Clary. They were pinned down by the concentrated small arms and cyclic machine gun fire from a number of Taliban positions at close range. Less than 15 seconds into the ambush, Giunta and his men acted to disrupt the attack. They alternated throwing volleys of fragmentation grenades towards the Taliban about 15 metres (49 ft) to their west and moving north. Firing Pfc. Casey's M249, Clary's M203, and their other weapons, they advanced until they reached Eckrode. Shot twice in one leg and with two other wounds, Eckrode was attempting to unjam his M249 SAW. Gallardo, who later received a Silver Star for his actions, dressed Eckrode's wounds and called for medevac.

Giunta, seeing that Eckrode was tended to, continued with Pfc. Clary to advance over the exposed, open ground of the ridge in the dark, looking for Brennan. When they could not locate him where they expected to find him, they ran after the retreating Taliban. The anti-coalition militia covered their rear with effective small arms fire but the Americans ran after them. Giunta saw three individuals and then recognized that two of them were Afghans dragging Sgt. Brennan, one by the legs and one by his arms. Giunta pursued them, firing his M4 carbine as he ran, killing one (later identified as Mohammad Tali, considered a high-value target). The second Afghan dropped Brennan and fled. A Spectre AC130 gunship shortly afterward spotted someone carrying Brennan's rucksack and killed him. Giunta said, "I ran through fire to see what was going on with [Brennan] and maybe we could hide behind the same rock and shoot together ... He was still conscious. He was breathing. He was asking for morphine. I said, 'You'll get out and tell your hero stories,' and he was like, 'I will, I will.'"

After reaching Brennan, Giunta pulled him back towards the rest of the squad and cover, comforted him, and examined him for wounds in the dark. Brennan was grievously hurt. The 2nd and 3rd Platoons arrived to reinforce their squad and render aid. Giunta continued to assist the medic and adjust security while they waited for evacuation.

The ambush had lasted three minutes. Later the next day, Brennan died while in surgery. Gallardo told Giunta later on, "You don't understand ... but what you did was pretty crazy. We were outnumbered. You stopped the fight. You stopped them from taking a soldier." Eckrode said of Giunta, "For all intents and purposes, with the amount of fire that was going on in the conflict at the time, he shouldn't be alive."

Medal of Honor award

Giunta learned two days later from Captain Kearney that the captain was going to recommend him for the Medal of Honor. He was uncomfortable about being singled out and labeled a hero. "If I'm a hero, every man that stands around me, every woman in the military, everyone who goes into the unknown is a hero, he says. "So if you think that's a hero as long as you include everyone with me." Giunta insists that his actions were those of any man in his unit. "In this job, I am only mediocre. I'm average." "I did what I did because in the scheme of painting the picture of that ambush, that was just my brush stroke. That's not above and beyond. I didn't take the biggest brush stroke, and it wasn't the most important brush stroke. Hearing the Medal of Honor is like a slap in the face."

On September 10, 2010, the White House announced that Giunta would be awarded the United States' highest military decoration, the first awarded to a living recipient since the Vietnam War.

He received the medal from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House on November 16, 2010. All of his surviving squad members also attended the ceremony.

Addressing the attention he has received due to the medal, he said:
"I'm not at peace with that at all," Giunta said. "And coming and talking about it and people wanting to shake my hand because of it, it hurts me, because it's not what I want. And to be with so many people doing so much stuff and then to be singled out—and put forward. I mean, everyone did something."

Giunta is the fourth Medal of Honor recipient from the War in Afghanistan, after Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, and Army Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller, the others being posthumously awarded the medal. All four were decorated for actions in eastern Afghanistan's small but highly lethal Kunar Province.

On December 31, 2010, Giunta was invited by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to attend the New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square. There, he pressed a button upon the start of a sixty second countdown to initiate the ball drop.

Post-military life

Giunta chose not to re-enlist and left the Army in June 2011. He and his wife moved to Colorado where he is a student at Colorado State University.

Medal of Honor citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007. While conducting a patrol as team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force. While under heavy enemy fire, Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover, and administered medical aid. While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Specialist Giunta’s body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Specialist Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Specialist Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Specialist Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Specialist Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative. As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security. Specialist Giunta’s unwavering courage, selflessness, and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from the enemy. Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta's extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army.
Remember Pearl Harbor
7 December 1941
71 Years ago
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), formerly Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay and originally Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, is a U.S. Marine Corps base facility and air station located on the Mokapu Peninsula of windward O'ahu in the City & County of Honolulu. For census purposes, the area is demarcated as the Kaneohe Station census-designated place, with a population at the 2010 Census of 9,517. Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, is home to Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees. The United States Marine Corps operates a 7,800-foot (2,400 m) runway at the base.
MCBH is home for the 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Aircraft Group 24, Combat Logistics Battalion 3 (CLB-3) 3rd Radio Battalion, and the Navy's Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2.
The base lies between the two largest windward O'ahu communities of Kailua and Kane'ohe, and the main gate is reached at the eastern end of Interstate H-3. The main access to the base is by either H-3 or by Mokapu Road. MCB Hawaii is located on the windward side of Oahu, approximately 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Honolulu. Marine Corps Base Hawaii occupies the entire Mokapu Peninsula, of 2,951 acres (11.94 km). Two areas of the base are classified conservation land which includes the Ulupau Crater area (northeast peninsula) and the Nuupia Pond area (at the Mokapu Road).

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson designated 322 acres (1.30 km) of land on Mokapu Peninsula for the military. The Kuwaahoe Military Reservation, became known later, in 1942 as Fort Hase. In 1941, Army artillery units moved into the area. In 1939, the Navy constructed a small seaplane base and upon its completion, Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay's role was expanded to include the administration of the Kaneohe Bay Naval Defense Sea Area.

Attack on Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941, Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay was attacked approximately 9 minutes prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Post World War II

In 1951, the Marines assumed control of the air station activities when naval aviation moved to Barbers Point Naval Air Station. On January 15, 1952, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay was commissioned. On 15 April 1994, the Marine Corps consolidated all of its installations in Hawaii. MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Camp H. M. Smith, Molokai Training Support Facility, Manana Family Housing Area, Puuloa Range, and the Pearl City Warehouse Annex combined to form a new command, the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, headquartered at MCBH Kaneohe Bay. All U.S. military units located in Hawaii fall under the command of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) which is headquartered at Camp H. M. Smith on Oahu. The Commanding General of Marine Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) also commands 12 Marine Corps bases and stations in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Japan, operational forces in Hawaii and Okinawa Prefecture, and units deployed to Southeast/west Asia. In 2010, parts of the movie Battleship were filmed aboard MCBH.