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. TheBuckStopsHere

    The only color that matters here is Green. Just ask any Soldier.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Rsprings

      Having served myself in a truly turbulent time for race relations.1968-1970, you are correct. The only color that counts when the shooting begins is the color of your uniform. When it came to saving a life or putting yourself at risk for another soldier race did not matter. HOO YA! and Semper Fi

      June 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • careworn

      You are all green in the military, But isn't it true that dark green soldiers weren't allowed to be treated by US white nurses in the WWII?

      June 4, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mikey

    Hero has become a very lose term. Of course they would have been killed...but he would have been killed also. I'm pretty sure that when this happened he just saw the grenade and picked it up and threw it to get it our of there and his instincts were to save his life and along with that he also saved his buddies.
    Great for him that he did's just not as heroic as it seems. On the other hand, we have become so detached from this war that the fact that the guy got his hand blown off should be a huge part of this story and it's sort of a foot note. Why are we at war? Why do these people volunteer? This is not "defending our great country". This is not keeping us free. Neither of these wars have anything to do with keeping us a free country, yet the young who either need the money for an education or actually believe this military BS that it makes you a better person and you will be defending your country sign up to go. Sure they will be looked on as those who are protecting us....if they come back in one piece or alive at all. Come on only have one life. Why are you signing up to be killed or wounded.

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

      Mikey – Personally, I believe you should be grateful that there are so many sevicemen and women who volunteer to join our nation's military. Without so many volunteers, people just like you would be drafted. Instead of wondering why, maybe you should be saying thank you.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • EX-Navy Mineman

      crawl back in your hole. Does it really matter the reason he grabbed it to throw it back. anyone of his fellow soldiers would have done the same. His fellow soldiers recommended him for it, there is a fine line between being a hero and a coward. In grabbing and throwning it back he was a hero in saving his own life and that of his fellow soldiers around him. you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you would have done the same.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • GI Jo

      Because guys like you would never know what it means to give one's life for another.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      Please get off our pile of dirt and find yourself another one. We don't want you here. We're not really into cowards that don't understand pride and duty and the actions that become means of necessity that enable you to peck away on your keyboard so freely.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      As you sit behind your computer and judge those who have allowed you to speak your mind with out fear, it is obvious that you simply just don't get it, you have no clue about service, honor, respect. But that is OK, Those that have served and continue to serve do so to continue to ensure opions like yours can always be said with out fear, reprisal, or without judgement. These young men and women believe different, they only have one life, and yets they choose to serve...Says alot about their character

      June 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyser

      to someone who has never been don't know anything about what it's all about, its not that flag or that uniform, its about the bonds of friendships you make when you serve with the people around you, they truly become your brothers or sisters whom you otherwise would have. You don't see how horrible these extremist are to their own people and the hateful Rhetoric that were fighting against.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • AR

      Mikey-because someone has to be willing to lose a hand or die for ungrateful people like you. You think throwing a grenade back was easy?..Fact is he probably had no idea how much time was left on that grenade before it detonated, and i'll be his natural instinct wasn't to throw it back but to get to cover. He knew what he was doing so THANK YOU SFC Petry. Now, Mikey please go back to your basement and enjoy what others do for you without even knowing you.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthefreman

      First off; you are an idiot.
      Secondly, where the hell were you on 9/11? "These wars are not helping us?" Are you insane? I believe some guy named Osama Bin Laden is now dead and most of the top Al Quaeda F&%Ks are in prison or dead. We have not had another 9/11 attack on US soil since. Fight the war over there or they will bring it here (as they did on 9/11). As much as I dislike Obama, at least I give him credit for NOT pulling out ASAP like he promised he would. Once he got the real lowdown on the wars and terrorists from the CIA and Joint Chiefs, he realized how foolish and childish it is to say 'Let's pull out and stop the war on June 1, 2011." Wake up. We are at war.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rsprings

      You get to go on your rant because of Sgt. Petry and all who came before him. If you believe what theses guys are doing in Afghanistan isn't protecting your freedom then you are mistaken.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • kardiac

      I agree with Mikey in many respects. While we praise the soldiers for protecting our freedom in Afghanistan I wonder what freedoms are in danger? The freedom to post a thoughtful piece at odds to the common thought and politically correct feelings? Be careful if you ever question a volunteer soldiers motive for joining the armed services. The bad feelings that erupted during Vietnam have swung to the complete opposite extreme. If I was 20 years old I would join the service for the training and the benefits when I got out of the service.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denman

      Mikey, don't worry. The word "Hero" has not become so loose a term that it will EVER be applied to you. As a retired soldier (21 years) I can tell you that SFC Petry is a rare man in an elite unit that places DUTY, HONOR & COUNTRY above all else. Nincompoops like you have never understood that level of commitment, and you never will. Go back to your video game.
      SFC Petry – Hoo-ah! God bless you and God bless the US Army.

      June 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Go back to bed, Mikey. We got yer back. One question: What was the last war we were involved in that DID involve "defending our country" by YOUR standard?

      June 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kyser

    Congrats SFC Petry, but we need to also honor Spc. Christopher Gathercole, whom died trying to aide the other three Rangers, one of whom was SFC Petry.

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

      Concur! No Servicemember's sacrifice will EVER be forgotten.

      June 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan Hunt

    Selfless Acts of Courage !

    Somehow or another the Press has got to learn that certain words are NOT to be used with reference to the award of medals: "Get, Got, or Won" are 3 that come to mind. Anyone have contacts so more of the Press can become
    a little more educated.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tom


    June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. GI Jo

    I wonder what would happen if you were to cover the grenade with a helmet? hmmm...

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

      You lose both hands

      June 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom


    June 1, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. cat dauis

    This was an outstanding act of courage. job well done u deserve this medal and much more. God bless u and ur family

    June 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jason

    eight tours of duty? seriously? why is this one guy being asked to serve in combat for eight tours, which in the Army is eight full years??? And how does he still have a family?

    June 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Read again

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

      Eight tours is a voluntary decision. This guy wasn't called up eight times.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • wow

      He is in Ranger Regiment. The tours are not 1 year each. They deploy on short tours, could be around 3 months each. Any current Rangers know the OEF tour length?

      June 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Eight tours? That is too many. There ought to be limit. My congratulations to this brave man for his award.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rsprings

      That was two tours..and I agree he is a hero.

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

      It's ten "tours" but a Special Operations Command tour is MUCH shorter than your standard conventional arms tour.

      June 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jamie

    8 fregg'n tours. Wow. Hard core. I hope he's able to ease back into civilian life. He's earned the right to do that for sure.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Harry Tripper

    If he didn't try to throw the grenade away, it would have blown him away. I'm not questioning his courage, but he didn't do it to protect others and sacrifice himself to save his fellws soldiers. He did it because he had no other choice if he wanted a chance to live.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      He could've grabbed his fellow soldier and threw him over the grenade

      June 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Your an idiot!

      June 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • PCola Vet

      Regardless of his reasoning Harry, the point is, HE is still with us, and so are HIS fellow soldiers. That's ALL that matters.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • wow

      Picking up a grenade if it is only your life on the line would be kind of stupid – you expose your most vital organs and arteries to the blast and shrapnel doing that. Grenades have limited power and relatively small blast radiuses. With a two second sprint you can be out of the "death zone" and will probably only catch some shrapnel. Or you can lie down behind any small, fortuitous terrain feature. A three inch high bump in the ground 5-6 feet long will largely protect you from shrapnel. Worst case, dive away from the grenade positioning yourself parallel to the shock wave/shrapnel path; feet closest to the grenade, head farthest away. You'll be deaf and disoriented for a bit, and your feet may catch some shrapnel, but you'll be alive.

      Bottom line: this guy did something amazingly heroic, and he did it for others.

      Source: 1 tour in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan (infantry)

      June 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      I understand you're point, but I think you've missed an important point. Few people have experienced the kind of instant terror brought on by war and even fewer are capable of taking action under extreme stress and fear. I would have done three things differently though.

      1. Wet my pants.
      2. Screamed like a little girl (no insult to little girls).
      3. Then died.

      Umm, yeah, trust me you don't want just anyone wearing those uniforms. So, overcoming that adrenaline rush and complete and instantaneous terror to take action that saved his, and other lives, not to mention that he lost his hand int the process is a heroic act in it self.

      You think you could have done the same? Really?

      June 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Oh, and I defer to the Vets who know what the F they are talking about. My guess is that Capt_Dragon plays a lot of video games and has no clue what being in a life/death situation is all about.

      Now, I have to go change my pants.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Above posts meant for Capt_Dragon AND Happy Tripper.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. humbled

    Thank god this counrty still has selfless heros like this man.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. countryboy

    God bless our troops and bring them home safe. http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE bye now.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rsprings

    I"ll bet you never served your country..or put yourself in harm's way. I'll bet you played basketball on memorial day just like Obama did. You may not agree with the wars but you should be thankful there are men who serve to protect you.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • clarke

      wow, you are just as bad. playing basketball, just like Obama did" and what does that mean?? Do you live in a glass house?

      June 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
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