President Obama got his Medal of Honor recipients mixed up today, accidentally referring to a posthumous recipient as alive.
Speaking in upstate New York to troops at Fort Drum Thursday, the president was remembering the times he spent with the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
“Throughout my service, first as a senator and then as a presidential candidate and then as a president, I’ve always run into you guys,” Obama said. “And for some reason it’s always in some rough spots.
“First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.”
Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, September 17, 2009.
When contacted about the gaffe by CBN reporter Dana Ritter, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “At Fort Drum, the President misspoke when discussing the first Medal of Honor he presented posthumously to Jared Monti, who was a member of the 10th Mountain Division. The President paid tribute to Monti in his remarks to troops in Afghanistan in March 2010. Last year, the President presented the Medal of Honor to Salvatore Giunta, who was the first living recipient of the Medal who served in Afghanistan.” (Mullen calls Afghanistan drawdown risky)
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. It is awarded to military service members only in cases of “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.”