During his remarks to troops at Fort Drum today, the President was reminiscing about the times he has spent with the US Army's 10th Mountain Division, when he got something wrong.
"Throughout my service, first as a senator and then as a presidential candidate and then as a President, I’ve always run into you guys. And for some reason it’s always in some rough spots.
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."
The problem is, Jared Monti was killed in action in Afghanistan, on June 21, 2006. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, September 17, 2009. President Obama handed the framed medal to his parents, Paul and Janet Monti. He and the First Lady comforted them in the Oval Office following the ceremony.
Official White House Photo/Pete Souza
I contacted the White House to see what happened. I'm told the President didn't have prepared remarks.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "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. 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.”
The gaffe comes one day after the President announced his plan to bring troops home from Afghanistan at a faster pace. He deliberately spoke at Fort Drum because of the 10th Mountain Division's multiple deployments to Afghanistan.