1. “I was in a position to do it. That was what needed to be done. So that’s what I did.”
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta received the Medal of Honor for repeatedly running into enemy fire to save American lives and rescue a fellow soldier from the hands of the Taliban.
2. “It does not really belong to me; it belongs to that event and the people I stood with.”
Captain William Swenson, Medal of Honor recipient, helped fend off an attack by insurgents and deliver wounded soldiers to safety in the Battle of Ganjgal. In a famous clip taken by the helicopter pilot, you can see Swenson in the act of delivering a soldier to safety.
3. “It became a huge commotion, but all I could let myself think about were my patients.”
Army Spc. Monica Brown, a combat medic, earned a Silver Star for gallantry in combat. When taking fire by insurgents in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, Brown risked her own safety to save five of her comrades and get them to safety.
4. “And then, you just did everything you could to save lives or prevent further loss.”
Army Staff Sergeant Ty Michael Carter, Medal of Honor recipient, braved enemy troops, resupplied ammunition to fellow soldiers, and risked his life to save an injured soldier trapped by enemy fire.
5. “This is what’s required of us. We’re gonna dig deep and we’re gonna man up.”
Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha received the Medal of Honor for successfully leading a group of 50 soldiers against over 300 Taliban insurgents to take back control of Combat Outpost Keating.
6. “Every day I think about Chris.”
U.S. Marine Sergeant William Soutra Jr. received the Navy Cross for jumping into action and directing his troops to defend themselves once his team leader, Christopher Antonik, was fatally wounded by an enemy explosive.
7. “I’m fortunate that even having lost a limb, I can say I lost it doing something I wanted to.”
U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient, lost his hand when a grenade landed among him and two of his fellow soldiers. Thinking quickly, he grabbed the grenade to throw it, which ended up severing his right hand but saving the lives of two of his men.
8. “The Purple Heart is an award no one wants to receive, but you should wear it with pride.”
U.S Army Lt. Colonel Alan Streeter, Purple Heart recipient, took shrapnel to the shoulder and neck while deployed in Afghanistan. He is a veteran of two tours of duty in the current War on Terror, having spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
9. “I would do it a hundred times.”
Former Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing 36 Afghan and American troops in his attempt to reach four U.S. service members who were trapped by heavy enemy fire believed to be coming from roughly 150 Taliban fighters.
10. “You’ve got a job to do — protecting yourself and your fellow comrades.”
Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, of the U.S. National Guard, was awarded the Silver Star for leading her squad to repel at least 30 insurgents during an ambush of her convoy in Iraq.