Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
On May 26, 2008, in Paktya, Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry risked his life to save those of his fellow Rangers. According to the Army’s narrative of the event, on a mid-day raid of a strategic compound,
Staff Sergeant Petry was shot through both legs and another Ranger was hit by enemy ﬁre. Shortly thereafter, an enemy hand grenade landed amid Staff Sergeant Petry and two other Rangers; despite his serious leg wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry unhesitatingly moved to the grenade, grabbed it, and immediately threw the armed grenade away from his fellow Rangers. The grenade detonated shortly after Staff Sergeant Petry threw it away from his fellow Rangers resulting in a catastrophic amputation of his right hand and multiple shrapnel wounds penetrating his body. This deliberate individual act of heroism by Staff Sergeant Petry saved the lives of his fellow comrades and allowed the completion of the mission.
Today, President Obama will award Sgt. Petry the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. The Medal is the nation’s highest military decoration, and today will mark only the ninth time it has been awarded to a veteran of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan–and only the second time since the beginning of these wars that the award has not been given posthumously.
Sgt. 1st Class Petry is still in the Army, and now works as part of the 75th Ranger Regiment to provide help and assistance to wounded soldiers and their families. To learn more about Sgt. Petry, his actions in Afghanistan, and the Medal of Honor, click here.