FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — National Hispanic Heritage Month runs Friday through Oct. 15. This date range is significant to many Hispanic nations — Sept. 15 is the Costa Rican, El Salvadorian, Honduran and Nicaraguan Independence Day; Sept. 16 is the Mexican Independence Day; Sept. 18 is the Chilean Independence Day; and Oct. 12 is celebrated across Spain and Latin America as Hispanic Heritage Day.
Hispanic Americans have fearlessly served our nation in every conflict in our history, dating back to the American Revolution. The story of our Army cannot be told without the inclusion of the remarkable contributions of our Hispanic American Soldiers and teammates, like Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry.
Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry was assigned as a squad leader to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in 2008, when he deployed to Afghanistan. While on a mission, Petry and another Soldier took automatic weapon fire from enemy combatants, sustaining severe injuries. Without regard to his own personal safety, Petry led his fellow Soldier out of direct fire and engaged the enemy with hand grenades. While moving closer to the enemy position, Petry was met by enemy grenades.
When Petry attempted to pick up and throw one of the undetonated enemy grenades, it exploded in his hand. Petry was able to apply selfcare and keep fighting, taking control of the engagement and saving the lives of his Soldiers. His heroic actions and gallantry earned him the Medal of Honor.
Petry continues to serve his country since retiring from the Army. He advocates on behalf of service members’ mental health and behavioral health services.
The Army’s greatest resource is the diversity of its Soldiers. This diversity makes us all part of the most versatile team and the greatest fighting force in the world. Today, 163,912 Hispanic Americans, with ancestries from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, stand ready to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies, as members of the United States Army. They serve in more than 200 career fields across the Army, and all are essential in our mission success.
We are very proud to serve with our Hispanic American teammates.
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