President Obama visited the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in New York today. During his remarks, Obama mixed up two war heroes, Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously and Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by the president in person this past November.
Giunta was the first living recipient of the award from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, part of B (Battle) Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, V Corps, based in Vicenza, Italy.
Monti – awarded the MoH posthumously – was a member of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry).
Remarks from President Obama as published on the White House website.
First time I saw 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.
How does the Commander-in-Chief mix these heroes up? He put that medal around Giunta’s neck and he stood with Monti’s parents as they grieved. These fallen heroes leave such a great legacy, and we should know all their names. The ironic part of the speech, and this comes after the announcement of the politically pressured drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, was Obama’s closing remark, “Know that your Commander-in-Chief has your back.”
Who writes this guy’s speeches? Who edits and reviews them?
UPDATE (Jim): Watch for yourself. The gaffe takes place at 3:00.