SHAKO: Army Ranger Awarded Medal of Honor

July 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

The Highest Honor

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who lost his right hand to an exploding grenade while protecting two fellow soldiers, has been awarded the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award for bravery. Petry, a native of New Mexico is only the second living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The veteran Army Ranger was decorated by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony July 12 and later inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.

Petry, a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, was a staff sergeant with Company D, 2nd Battalion of the 75th Rangers May 26, 2008 during a daylight raid on an insurgent compound in search of an al Qaeda leader. Already shot through both legs, Petry grabbed the grenade that landed within feet of himself and two other Rangers and began to throw it away just as it exploded. Despite the shock and pain, Petry put a tourniquet around his mangled arm himself and radioed for help.

It wasn’t the first time Petry was cited for bravery and faithful service, in addition to the Medal of Honor, he has been awarded: two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Combat Star and the Iraq Campaign Medal with Combat Star. The father of four has served two tours of duty in Iraq and six in Afghanistan.

Equipped with a robotic hand — with which he shook hands with the president — Petry intends to stay in the Rangers.

Petry is only the second living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s puzzling — and troubling — considering that the military has been at war for 10 years now, notes Rebekah Sanderlin,  an Army wife and freelance writer, in a blog at the New York Times site.

As it did for Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta — the first living Medal of Honor recipient in the Afghan and Iraq wars — the Army has created a Website about 1st Sgt. Petry and the medal.

Army photo by D. Myles Cullen

To read the Medal of Honor citation for 1st Sgt. Petry, click here.

To see a slideshow of the White House ceremony, click here.

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Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, National Security and Defense, News Developments, Skills and Training, Traditions, Washington. Tags: , , , , , .

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