April 13, 2021

Medal of Honor Awarded to Leroy Arthur Petry

“On Tuesday July 12th, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House.

Since Vietnam, the nation’s highest military honor has only been awarded to two soldiers who have survived combat; Sgt Petry, and Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who received the Medal of Honor last fall. Both are veterans of Afghanistan.

Sgt. Petry serves in the 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, WA. During his career, he has been deployed eight times, twice to Iraq and six times to Afghanistan.

On May 26th, 2008, Sgt. Petry was involved in a high-risk daytime mission in the Patkia province of eastern Afghanistan. The Rangers were looking for insurgents and a top al-Qaeda leader.

While clearing a building, Petry was shot in both legs. Bleeding badly, he and another solider took cover. An insurgent grenade exploded nearby wounding fellow soldiers, with a second grenade landing a few feet away. As Petry picked up the grenade to throw it, it exploded, taking his hand. Due to his courage, two fellow comrades were saved. Petry applied his own tourniquet and continued to issue orders, helping his unit to fight and win the battle.

“”This 28-year-old man with his whole like ahead of him, this husband and father of four, did something extraordinary,”" said President Obama. “”He lunged forward, toward the live grenade. He picked it up. He cocked his arm to throw it back.”"

Talking to the Stars and Stripes, Petry said, “”You’d hear stories about guys jumping on grenades. I thought about it and I said if there was any time you could visually see a grenade, you should have time to react to it, kick it, throw it, do what you can. I didn’t feel any pain. It was odd. When I sat back up and saw my hand I grabbed where my wrist was, and it was completely gone. I was waiting for the Hollywood squirt, blood to go flying in the air, but that didn’t happen. Then I went back to military training and applied the tourniquet that I had.”"

In attendance at the White House were fellow Rangers, Petry’s wife and children, his parents and other family and friends. Family of Sp. Christopher Gathercole, who died in the raid, were also at the Medal of Honor ceremony.

President Obama met privately with Sgt. Petry in the Oval Office prior to the ceremony, and commented on his prosthetic limb, which has a small plaque attached with the names of his fallen comrades from the 75th Regiment.

“”They are, quite literally, part of him, just as they will always be part of America,”" said President Obama.

Since its creation in 1861, the Medal of Honor has been awarded to more than 3,400 of America’s bravest Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.”

Learn more, click here:

Seattle Times

Medal of Honor Citations

U.S. Department of Defense Official Website – Medal of Honor

Leroy Petry

Sergeant First Class Leroy A. Petry – Madal of Honor Recipient for the United States Army