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Obama confuses his Medal of Honor recipients during Ft. Drum remarks

The president tells of being able to award the medal to Jared Monti, who he says 'wasn't receiving it posthumously.' In fact, Monti was a posthumous recipient and Obama apparently was confusing him with Salvatore Giunta, the first living recipient since Vietnam. The White House acknowledges the mix-up.

June 24, 2011|By Michael Muskal
(Mario Tama, Getty Images )

President Obama, at recent campaign stops, has pointed out that his hair is now getting gray, a sign of how he has aged and the toll taken by his job. But on Thursday, the president had a different kind of senior moment.

Speaking at Ft. Drum in upstate New York, Obama thanked troops from the 10th Mountain Division for their deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. To hammer home his point, he told a story of awarding the Medal of Honor to a living member of the division.

Obama, however, misspoke. he did award the medal, but posthumously.

“First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq,” Obama said on Thursday. “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.” the president said.

Jared Monti died in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006, during an attempted rescue of a comrade. Obama awarded him the nation’s highest military medal at a ceremony on Sept. 17,  2009. The president handed the framed medal to Monti’s parents,  Paul and Janet Monti, and comforted the couple.

Obama had apparently mixed up Monti with Salvatore Giunta, the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. The president presented Giunta the award in November.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged Obama’s error.

 “At Ft. 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,” he said.

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