WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will award the first Medal of Honor to go to a living service member who fought in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta served as a rifle team leader during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The White House says Giunta went beyond the call of duty during an October 2007 attack when he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. When he later noticed two insurgents carrying away another fellow solider, Giunta engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other before providing medical aid to the wounded U.S. soldier.

Obama spoke with Giunta Thursday to inform him he would receive the nation’s highest military honor.