Two staff sergeants who fought alongside Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta said acclaimed author and filmmaker Sebastian Junger left out two of the three platoons fighting in the Korengal Valley when Junger filmed “Restrepo,” a documentary chronicling the fighting in the “Valley of Death.”
Junger spent a year embedded with Second Platoon of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. His book, “War,” covers the brutal fighting as American troops tried to root out Taliban insurgents. The book describes the battle in which Salvatore’s heroic actions earned the Medal of Honor. However, members of 1st Platoon, Giunta’s platoon, said the platoon was left out of the rest of the book and accompanying documentary.
“We kinda felt like he made it about one platoon, the platoon he was embedded with. And he kinda shunned the other platoons in his book. First Platoon lost the most guys and 3rd Platoon had it rough, and we didn’t do it for glory, or to be in a book, but in our opinion he just made it about 2nd Platoon and who he was with,” Staff Sgt. Michael Burns said.
“A lot of people don’t understand there was more than one platoon out there in that valley. But he’s reaping the benefits of Sal now,” Staff Sgt. Brett M. Perry said.
“Yeah he’s interested in first platoon now,” Burns said.
Staff Sgt. Erick Gallardo joined Perry and Burns to speak to reporters Wednesday afternoon about Giunta and what the Medal of Honor ceremony in Washington, D.C. was like. While their comments toward Junger might have been cold, they said President Obama sure knows how to throw a party.
“The 12 of us that were with Sal that night got to meet the president and his wife in a private room right after the ceremony. It was pretty surreal. He shook all our hands and the first lady gave us all hugs. We were all stumbling over our words. He’s just a likable guy, and you can’t not like the guy. It’s not something I’ll every forget,” Perry said.
One reporter asked Perry, who is getting out of the Army soon, what he could do in the civilian world to top this.
“Uh, not get shot at,” Perry replied.