Mortifying: Obama Blunders Medal of Honor Recipient

Posted: Jun 24, 2011 11:18 AM

Wowww. I'm generally annoyed when the media make a huge deal about politicians' minor faux pas, but this one is really quite the doozy.

Speaking to troops of the 10th Mountain Division yesterday at Fort Drum, NY, President Obama attempted to go about praising the division for their service:

"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."

President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to the parents of Sergeant First Class Jared Monti on September 17, 2009, after Sergeant Monti was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006.
We all get mixed up and misspeak at times, but this just smacks of carelessness. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration we have, awarded for "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," and for the President to make such an error in public is painfully embarrassing. The White House issued a correction, but still:

Obama apparently confused Monti with Salvatore Giunta, the first living soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Giunta received the honor last year for his actions in Afghanistan in the fall of 2007. 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged the error. 

"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," Carney said in a statement. "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."