Army sergeant to get Medal of Honor for Afghanistan heroics
Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry has served six tours of duty in Afghanistan and two in Iraq.
June 1st, 2011
08:27 AM ET

Army sergeant to get Medal of Honor for Afghanistan heroics

An Army Ranger who lost his right hand while tossing an enemy grenade away from fellow soldiers in Afghanistan will be awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. Army announced this week.

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry will be the second living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Iraq and Afghan wars, according to the military. President Barack Obama will present the award to Petry on July 12.

"It's very humbling to know that the guys thought that much of me and my actions that day, to nominate me for that," Petry said, according to an Army News Service report.

Petry is being awarded the medal for actions on May 26, 2008, in Paktia, Afghanistan.

Already wounded by a bullet that went through both his legs, Petry picked up an enemy grenade that landed near him and two fellow Rangers and threw it back toward the enemy, according to the Army News Service report. The grenade detonated and amputated Petry's right hand. Petry applied a tourniquet to his wound and called for help.

"If not for Staff Sergeant Petry's actions, we would have been seriously wounded or killed," a fellow Ranger, Sgt. Daniel Higgins, wrote. Read the full Army News Service report on the battle.

Petry, now assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, will be the ninth service member to be presented the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq. The other living recipient is Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.

Petry, a father of four from Santa Fe, New Mexico, has served two tours of duty in Iraq and six in Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Medal of Honor • Military • World
soundoff (536 Responses)
  1. Dennis

    Not to downplay what he did but soldiers and Marines have done far more for far less but get nothing.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      All while serving 8 tours? think again

      June 1, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      get over it

      June 1, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      So, does that mean we shouldn't honor this man? Is that REALLY what you're saying?

      June 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarinePOG

      Concur, but I think SFC Petry deserves the MOH. Read Bradley Kasal's Navy Cross citation, It sounds like Kasal should've received the MOH also. But, when it comes to awards, justifications are stricter in the Marine Corps. Regardless of any accolades received, any service member doesn't care about that crap. It's all about staying alive and protecting their brothers in arms. At the end though, awards are all about who has the initiative to write up the citation, how fascinating it sounds, and how fast it gets attention.

      June 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • dean IN

      Marine POG. You are correct about who and how much writing a citation up is a huge part in getting a Medal Of Honor. While I won't agree that marines are heldt to a higher standard to receive Medals for heroism, they certainly have their heros also. Those that serve in these dangerous situations answer the call to duty every day. God bless the USA.

      June 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robert C.

    Tiff– how do you know he's referring to Black people...just because that idiot mentioned the guy is white and that's the reason the story is do you know he's talking about Black people not being recognized...he could be Asian, Spanish or Indian or any other race. You're the one that mentioned the soldier not being 'black'. Think about it.... Thanks.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • JDT

      she was referring to someone ("Selmers") who posted something racist (and subsequently erased it). You're taking her comment out of context...

      June 1, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. JohnO

    Rangers lead the way!

    Thank you for your service.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Richard Brock

    Rangers Lead The Way! Well done soldier. And well deserved.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bohica123

    Confused on how anyone said anything about blacks cant be hero's??Why does this come up when a white soldier does a fantastic and honorable job. Get off the racist cards, people like you are the reason why racism will never die off..

    June 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. PhilG.

    He would probably say-not a big deal-my brothers would do the same for me anytime,anywhere.

    Good to see the Good Guys getting some press.

    Thank You to every soldier whose service keeps us safe and free.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Phil...he would...and we would. It's the job, and it's the job we gladly signed up for. I was 3rd Ranger Battalion years ago, but nothing changes. Lay it on the line every day for the love of country and the defense of freedom.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Sgt. Petry is definately a "hero" by that which we define "heroes." But Medal of Honor (MOH) for trying to toss a grenade away from himself, and others? Maybe Sgt. Petry's priority was saving himself, first? Nothing wrong with that. Had he not had his hand blown off or shot through both legs would he still get the medal? We give the MOH for bravery, not wounds. Have we lowered the standards for heroism in the line of fire, because were in a more modern, technical combat situations where fighting is done from afar and not up clase and personel? Check out the exploits of MOH winners during WWII and the Korean war, like Audy Murphy for what it took to win the nation's nighest combat medal.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • iamthefreman

      Not only is it great to see him get the award a dn know he and the other soldiers are still alive, but that he is still on active duty with a missing hand. Today's prosthetics are amazing. After a while of him getting used to using it, he and people around him probably won't notice it even. Great story.
      BUT...Why doesn't the anti-war mainstream media report on more stories like this ??

      June 1, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      You have a cold heart. You are forgetting one thing. He move TOWARD the grenade, and grasped in his hand. Lowering the standard? I think not. In a split second he reasoned to put himself in more harm to save both himself AND his comrades. He live to continue to help forward the mission. I don't lessen the choice, but had he simply rolled onto the grenade, he would not have another chance to fight another day or assist others in the misison. May you find peace in your heart.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tim, San Diego, CA

    I don't consider myself a particularly brave person but if a grenade landed near me I'd try to throw it back. What's your option?

    June 1, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • beavis415

      "What's your option?"

      Turn, and run.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Marine5484

      ummmm......yell grenade and run like hell and get behind cover.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Easier said then done my friend...

      June 1, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • former 0311

      Other options chosen more frequently ... freeze ... run ... scream...cry…. The courage to grab a grenade and have the presence of mind to throw it back at the bad guys demonstrates that this man is pure warrior …

      June 1, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      Your option is to die and let your comrades die b/c you don't react.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • iamthefreman

      Run around in circles with your hands in the air sceaming like a 10 year old girl who just saw a spider in her room. Please don't ever join the military. You would be dead five minutes after touchdown in Bezerkistan.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3 OF 6

      Much easier to say rather than do. Even if you have never seen what a RGD-5 can do to the human body

      June 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      There are many options. You could turn trail and try to run away before it explodes, thus sacrificing your fellow men. You could also freeze up and do nothing, and die with them. Or, the third option, the one SFC Petry took, is the one that takes courage: you go towards the grenade to throw it back/away to save your fellow men, and, possibly, yourself. The greatest risk would be to the one who advanced upon the grenade, so he put his life on the line to do so, thus making him a hero by definition.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      It is not an "option", it is a reaction. A standard human reaction to immediate danger would be to flinch away. This man chose the exact opposite of this reaction and moved toward and tried to remove the danger IMMEDIATELY. It is just like when you are in an active shooter situation (we've seen it time and time again); the standard human reaction is to find "cover" and hide and wait until the shooter moves on or until you get shot dead. This man would, in all likelihood react JUST the opposite and ATTACK the threat! That is the difference...

      June 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JOEY

    Great to hear another solder has done the same as my father did in WWII – lost three fingers in the blast. I honor all that have served before me and serve today!

    June 1, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • iamthefreman

      God Bless him and the entire "Greatest Generation" of WWII soldiers. We would be blogging in German right now without them. Vestehe Sie?

      June 1, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dennis

    That is a loss you can be proud of forever.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ryan in Michigan

    Semper Fi, SFC Petry! Your courage has saved lives, and you are an example to us all.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Your sentiments are understandable, but I doubt a U.S. Army Ranger would appreciate being praised with a shortened version of the U.S. Marine Corps motto. Marines probably wouldn't appreciate its use to a non-Marine either.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      I think in this case the Marines might not be too offended if a, soon to be, Medal of Honor recipient was given the "Semper Fi." Personally I'd just buy the man a drink.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • EX-Navy Mineman

      @Howard, he is a brother in arms. it doesnt matter what branch you are in. It is a respect thing something you missed somewhere along the way.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      @Howard – The main thing is that this man is a fellow service member risking his life daily fighting for the same cause as the rest of the branches, and to offer up a "Semper Fi!" to him, coming from a fellow service member, retired, of the Marine Corps, it means no disservice nor dishonor to either SFC Petry or the United States Marine Corps.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Thank you Ryan! F* CK you Howard! I have been honored by Marines in the same manner for FAR lesser deeds and I appreciated it just as they would if I gave 'em a hooah. You're a turd.

      June 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mocha

    Wow! A true great soldier! You totally deserve the medal of honor. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from injuries. You are a true american hero!

    June 1, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    Rangers Lead The Way!

    Well done brother...well done and well deserved.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Baranga the Great

    8 tours of duty, shot up, arm blown off, and I will bet good money this man can still pull hot girls all day and night long. This man is the embodiment of being an American soldier. I salute you sir. God bless you and thank you for your service to this amazing country.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. DWCarlon


    June 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Keksi

    How about giving Medal of Honor to George Bush Junior,he saved us from terrorist sacrificing his political career.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ronald Hussein Reagan


      June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
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