The president made the error while speaking to troops from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. A day after announcing his plan for withdrawing surge troops from Afghanistan, Obama praised the division for their service during two concurrent wars.
"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," Obama said.
Monti, however, died in Afghanistan in 2006. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2009 for his actions sacrificing his own life to try and save a fellow soldier.
Obama apparently confused Monti with Salvatore Giunta, the first living soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Giunta received the honor last year for his actions in Afghanistan in the fall of 2007.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged the error.
"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," Carney said in a statement. "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."