Medal of Honor Recipient in NYC for New Year's Eve

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, of Hiawatha, Iowa, the first living Medal of Honor recipient from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, waves to the crowd as he rides on the back of a Hiawatha fire truck with his wife Jennifer during a parade in his honor Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 in Hiawatha. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Aaron Hepker

NEW YORK (AP) — The Times Square New Year's Eve countdown will be launched with military precision this year by the 2010 Medal of Honor recipient.

New York City Hall and the Times Square Alliance said Wednesday that Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will join Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the countdown.

They will press the ceremonial button at 11:59 p.m. to signal the lowering of the ball, and will lead revelers in the 60-second countdown to 2011.

The 25-year-old soldier from Hiawatha, Iowa, was awarded the Medal of Honor in November.

Giunta received the award for his bravery in Afghanistan.

He exposed himself to enemy fire in order to pull a soldier back to cover when his platoon came under attack in 2007.

He also shot two insurgents who were trying to carry off another U.S. soldier.

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