President Obama commemorated the heroic actions of Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta on Tuesday as he presented the soldier with the Medal of Honor. Giunta is the first living recipient of the award since the Vietnam era.

Giunta served as a paratrooper and rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Airborne Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade.  He was able to save the life of two of his fellow soldiers while deployed in Afghanistan under heroic conditions.  Giunta fought against Taliban fighters as they attempted to drag away a fellow comrade and was able to rescue the soldier. He also went into the open during an ambush to bring a friend to safety.

There have been seven soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor. All of the recipients have died prior to the award.

Giunta said he would gladly trade the award for the lives of his fallen friends.