Yesterday at the White House, Sergeant Leroy Petry was celebrated as the second living Medal of Honor recipient to have earned the award for service during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While on a high-risk daytime mission in Afghanistan in 2008, Sergeant Petry, an Army Ranger, and two of his comrades were injured by enemy fire. Despite his wounds, Petry continued to lead his soldiers, dragging one to cover. When an enemy grenade landed near him and his comrades, Sergeant Petry moved toward the grenade and picked it up to throw it back – saving the lives of his fellow Rangers. As he cocked his arm to lob the live grenade away, it exploded. Petry lost his hand, but did not give up the fight. He tied a tourniquet around his own bleeding arm and continued to direct the operation, working to ensure the safety of his comrades until the end of the mission.
“Our heroes are all around us,” said the President. “They’re the force behind the force—military spouses like Ashley, who during Leroy’s seven deployments, during missed birthdays and holidays, kept the family Army Strong. They’re military children, like Brittany, Austin, Reagan and seven-year old Landon, who at the end of a long day is there to gently rub his dad’s injured arm.”
Petry’s service to his country and to his comrades has been outstanding, but he’s not done: Though he could have retired and received full benefits, Sergeant Petry chose to re-enlist.