FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The United States Army honored a Fort Liberty soldier on Friday afternoon. First Lieutenant Joseph Guerra received The Soldier’s Metal.
The 82nd Airborne Paratrooper was awarded the medal for his heroism in a Columbus, Georgia shooting.
First Lt. Guerra was with some fellow soldiers when they were caught in gunfire outside a Columbus restaurant in June of 2021.
“This man about 10 feet behind us just started firing upon us,” First Lt. Guerra said.
“I pushed one of my friends down and jumped on top of her,” he added.
After the gunman ran out of ammo, Guerra and a female soldier he shielded from the gunfire jumped up and immediately started aiding three wounded people, including a fellow paratrooper with a trauma kit Guerra had in his car.
“He could have bled out and possibly died,” First Lt. Guerra said.
On Friday, the U.S. Army awarded the paratrooper the highest honor a soldier can get during peacetime.
“I think any of the guys here would have done the same thing if they were put in that situation,” he said.
The first lieutenant now joins only 240 active-duty Army soldiers to ever receive this honor.
“I’m not going to let it go to my head or anything. I still got a job to do. I still got another seven years until I retire,” he said.
After being presented the award at Fort Liberty on Friday, his message to his fellow paratroopers were to take all the trainings seriously, because they never know when they might have to use it.