Wednesday’s Hero – Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry

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Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry
31 years old
from Santa Fe, New Mexico
2nd Battalion,
75th Ranger Regiment

U.S. Army

“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.”

Instead of covering Stg. Petry on Tuesday, The Pink Flamingo is covering his story along with the Wednesday Hero.

Lucas Peerman, the digital editor for the Las Cruces Sun-News, is in DC covering the awarding of the Medal of Honor to his cousin.  He has started a blog.

Yesterday, July 12, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry became the second living recipient of the Medal Of Honor from the War On Terror.

The Santa Fe New Mexican

On May 26, 2008 Sgt 1st Class Petry lost his right hand when the enemy grenade he threw back, saving the lives of two of his fellow Soldiers, detonated. Despite the injury Sgt 1st Class Petry managed to tie a tourniquet around his arm and continued to fight.

“...Petry, a 31-year-old father of four from Santa Fe, N.M., was on his eighth tour in Iraq and Afghanistan when he and 70 Rangers from the Army’s 2nd battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, staged a rare daytime helicopter assault on a compound of buildings in Paktia province. The compound housed dozens of insurgents.

The outer buildings were quickly cleared and the Rangers focused on a targeted building.

Petry and Robinson, a private first class, were clearing a courtyard to assist another squad, when three insurgents suddenly opened fire with AK-47s. Petry was wounded in both legs; Robinson was hit by a round in the side plate of his armored vest that would leave “a significant scar.”

The two found cover behind a chicken coop. Petry threw a grenade that allowed Sgt. Daniel Higgins to join them to assess their wounds.

Suddenly, an enemy grenade exploded near the coop, hitting Petry and Robinson with shrapnel.

Seconds later, another grenade landed “within a meter” of Robinson and Higgins. Petry could have pulled himself behind a wall to evade the grenade. But, seeing his comrades in danger, he pushed forward, grabbed it and threw it away from any threat.

As he did, it blew up, tearing off his right hand.

Still, Petry, the senior noncommissioned officer in the fight, tied tourniquets around his legs and right arm and continued to direct other Rangers to secure the area.

As is customary for those set to receive the Medal of Honor, Petry has declined interviews.

On the day his medal was announced, he said in a statement: “It’s very humbling to know that the guys thought that much of me and my actions that day, to nominate me for that.”…”

You Can Read More About Sgt. 1st Class Petry Here

Boston Globe

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Cindy

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look

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Santa Fe New Mexican

“…According to military reports, Petry was assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He was part of a squad making a daylight raid to capture a target. With another member, Pvt. 1st Class Lucas Robinson, Petry entered a compound to clear it of enemy fighters. The two were shot at as they crossed a courtyard. One round slammed through the upper part of both of Petry’s legs and another wounded Robinson. Petry guided Robinson to a nearby chicken coop for cover.

A team leader, Sgt. Daniel Higgins, worked his way over to the two wounded soldiers. While he was checking their wounds, an insurgent threw a grenade over the chicken coop and it exploded several meters away. Higgins and Robinson were wounded. As two other soldiers — Staff Sgt. James Roberts and Spc. Christopher Gathercole — tried to reach the three wounded Rangers, the enemy threw a second grenade over the chicken coop. It rolled within a few feet of Higgins and Robinson.

Leroy “despite his own wounds and with complete disregard for his personal safety” managed to grab the grenade and tried to fling it away from the other two men, according to battlefield reports cited by the Army News Service. As Leroy released the grenade, it exploded, amputating his right hand.

Still he kept his wits about him. He wrapped a tourniquet around his right arm and reported he was wounded again and still engaged with enemy fighters.

Roberts shot at the insurgents and lobbed a grenade, keeping them at bay. But Gathercole was fatally wounded by enemy fire from another side of the courtyard.

Higgins said later in a statement, “if not for Staff Sergeant Petry’s actions, we (he and Robinson) would have been seriously wounded or killed.”

Shipped to a German hospital, Leroy was watched over by distant cousins. His grandfather, Leo Petry, was from Germany.

Back in the United States finally, Leroy was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to recover and rehabilitate. Santa Fe Preparatory students and staff, and the Pecos community, gave generous donations that allowed Larry and Rose to spend that summer at the center with Leroy. Larry is a longtime staff member and former coach at Santa Fe Prep and the couple live in Pecos.

“Doctors told us at first he might never walk again (because of the bullet wound and shrapnel damage to his legs),” Leroy said. “When a nurse tried to bring a wheelchair, Leroy pushed it away. He told me, ‘I’m going to walk again.’ ”

“He never felt sorry for himself,” Larry said.

“He was not going to let injuries get him down,” Rose added.

Leroy used his sense of humor to deal with his changed life and make others around him comfortable. “He loves putting out his prosthetic hand when he first meets people,” grandmother Bertha Petry said. “The hand turns all the way around. He likes to see the look on people’s faces.”

When he came home to visit one summer, he water-skied with one hand. He had his youngest son, Landon, sit on his lap and work the right-handed throttle on a four-wheeler so they could ride around. He became an avid golfer.

He kept making others feel better. In 2009, he sent a special email to 59-year-old Tom Watson after the golfer’s memorable plays and heartwrenching loss at the British Open, according to one account.

Leroy now helps other returning wounded soldiers and their families navigate the red tape of benefits and services as a liaison officer with the U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition-Northwest Region in Washington State.

But his dad knows if Leroy could figure out a way to do it, he’d be back on the front line, fighting alongside other Rangers….”

 

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