19 July 2011

Medal of Honor awarded for Afghanistan

Forgot to post this last week because I was distracted by getting ready for my vacation....

ZUI this article from ABC News:
Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry was honored at the Pentagon today for the heroism that cost him his right hand but saved the lives of two of his fellow soldiers.

Petry is only the second living recipient of the nation's highest award for valor in the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Petry on Tuesday at a White House ceremony, at which he said the Army Ranger's service "speaks to the very essence of America -- the spirit that says no matter how hard the journey, no matter how steep the climb, we don't quit."


Petry lost his right hand on May 26, 2008 during what his platoon commander described as one of the most complex Special Operations raids ever conducted in Afghanistan at the time. A platoon of Rangers was targeting a high-value target hiding in a compound in eastern Afghanistan.

Special Operations forces typically conduct their missions at night, but this mission was more dangerous because it was conducted during daylight. Almost immediately after getting out of their helicopters, the Rangers came under strong enemy fire.

When asked by a reporter what message he had for younger soldiers about what they could learn from his experience, Petry said, "Give it your best. Always put your faith in those to your left and right, and may y'all come home safe. And thank you."

ZUI also this ABC News blog post. The president's remarks from the presentation are here.

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Staff Sergeant, US Army; D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Born: 29 July 1979, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Died: TBD

Citation: Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army.

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