Army 1st Lt. Joseph Guerra was presented with the Soldier’s Medal for his heroic actions during a shooting spree in Columbus, Georgia. When a gunman opened fire, wounding three people, Guerra shielded a fellow soldier with his body and then provided medical assistance to three other victims. Police later arrested the suspected gunman, who had carried out three shootings in less than 24 hours. Despite his bravery, Guerra maintains that he does not consider himself a hero.
- Incident Details: Army 2nd Lt. Joseph Guerra was in downtown Columbus, Georgia on June 11, 2021, when a gunman opened fire. Guerra used his body to shield a fellow soldier and provided medical assistance to other victims.
- Recognition: Guerra was awarded the Soldier’s Medal on August 11, 2023, at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. The medal is the highest award for valor in non-combat situations, recognizing Guerra’s selfless bravery and quick thinking.
- Suspected Gunman: The police arrested the suspected gunman who was accused of wounding a total of five people in three shootings within 24 hours.
- Guerra’s Background: Originally from California, Guerra enlisted in the Army in June 2010 and served as a combat medic. His other military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, among others.
- Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve’s Remarks: During the award ceremony, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division expressed pride in Guerra’s actions and emphasized the importance of living up to the honor represented by the Soldier’s Medal.