|President Barack Obama awards SFC Leroy Petry MOH|
Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a historic ceremony in the east room of the White House on July 12th, 2011.
Petry is only the second active-duty servicemember since Vietnam to live to accept the nation’s highest military honor. The first Soldier, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, was seated in the audience that included Vice President Joe Biden, Army senior leaders, several rows of decorated Army Rangers, and more than 100 of Petry’s family and friends, including his wife, mother, father, grandparents, brothers and four children.
“This could not be happening to a nicer guy or a more inspiring family,” the president said. “Leroy, the Medal of Honor reflects the deepest gratitude of our entire nation.”
The president explained how Petry and members of his Co. D, 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment, took on a rare daylight raid on an insurgent compound to pursue a top al-Qaida commander sequestered inside, and how the mission left Petry and two of his comrades within feet of a live enemy grenade.
Petry was already shot through both legs, but with no regard for his life, still took action to save comrades Higgins and Robinson from certain death.
“Every human impulse would tell someone to turn away. Every Soldier is trained to seek cover. That’s what Sergeant Leroy Petry could have done,” Obama said. “Instead, this wounded Ranger, this 28-year-old man who had his whole life ahead of him, this husband and father of four did something extraordinary — he lunged forward toward the live grenade. He picked it up. He cocked his arm to throw it back. What compels such courage that leads a person to risk everything so that others might live?”
Petry shook hands with the president today using a robotic hand, which replaced the one he lost when the grenade detonated as Petry released it. (See photo of handshake)
The day of the incident even the loss of his hand failed to fluster him, though. Obama marveled that the war hero applied a tourniquet himself and then radioed for help.
“The service of Leroy Petry speaks to the very essence of America — that spirit that says, no matter how hard the journey, no matter how steep the climb, we don’t quit,” Obama said.
Read the entire story: Petry awarded Medal of Honor U.S. Army
|TO THE EAST ROOM – President Barack Obama and Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry make their way into the East Room for a Medal of Honor presentation ceremony at the White House, July 12, 2011. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen|
|President Barack Obama hugs Bertha Petry, the grandmother of Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, U.S. Army, in the Blue Room of the White House, July 12, 2011. The President later awarded SFC Petry, left, the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan, in May 2008. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)|
|President Barack Obama stands at attention prior to presenting the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2011. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen|
|Friends of Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry inspect the Medal of Honor he received at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2011. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen|