EDISON - The first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War was honored in Washington today by President Barack Obama. Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for his heroic actions during the war in Afghanistan.

Two past recipients from the Garden State spoke with News 12 New Jersey about the honor, calling it a life-altering experience. Col. Jack Jacobs, who received the Medal of Honor more than 40 years ago, says the honor carries an awesome responsibility. Jacobs saved the lives of more than a dozen soldiers during a Vietnamese ambush.

World War II veteran and Master Sgt. Nicholas Oresko received his Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman in 1945 after taking down two German bunkers with a bullet in his hip. Orseko says Truman told him he would rather have the Medal of Honor than be president.

Obama to honor 1st living Medal of Honor recipient since Vietnam