Medal of Honor awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry

Tuesday July 12, 2011

What is it?

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry will receive the Medal of Honor – the nation's highest medal for valor – from President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony slated for 2 p.m. today. Petry is the fourth Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan, and the second living recipient for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What has the Army done?

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, an Army Ranger, exemplified the highest ideals of the strength of the nation when he saved the lives of his fellow Rangers on May 26, 2008. On this day in Afghanistan, then Staff Sgt. Petry, assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Wounded in both legs, Petry led his fellow Ranger to cover, then engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position.

The enemy responded by throwing grenades to the Rangers’ position, the second landing only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, 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. Petry’s gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed.

Why is this important to the Army?

Sgt. 1st Class Petry’s actions embody the Army Values and its highest ideals. In addition, Petry’s skills as a highly-trained professional enables him to defend the country, the Constitution and the American people – a tremendous responsibility that Soldiers carry.

What is planned for the future?

In addition to today's White House ceremony, Army senior leaders will recognize Sgt. 1st Class Petry, his family and friends during a Pentagon ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, July 13. Sgt. 1st Class Petry will receive his official picture, citation and Medal of Honor flag during the ceremony. The ceremony will also feature the unveiling of his Hall of Heroes plaque.


View live @ 2 p.m. on July 12- White House Medal of Honor ceremony for Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry

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Senior Leaders are Saying

"You are the ones I am responsible for. You are the ones I care about. I want to make sure you are protected, not only for yourself but for your families."

- Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, on his first official trip to Iraq, expressed his deepest thanks to the troops while acknowledging their critical and essential contribution to the success of Iraq’s independence.

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What They're Saying

"I think you see heroic actions a lot in a combat zone, whether you want to or not. I think this one stood out."

- Master Sgt. Steven Walter, one of the Rangers on the mission in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, in May 2008, praises the Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry for his action that saved two lives, despite having been shot in both legs.

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