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Leroy Petry: Medal Of Honor

Updated on July 25, 2011

Place of birth: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Allegiance: United States of America

Service/branch: United States Army

Years of service: 1999 – present

Rank: Sergeant First Class

Unit 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Battles/wars :Iraq WarWar in Afghanistan

Awards: Medal of Honor, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Leroy Arthur Petry

This is a story of a regular guy from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Born July 29th, 1979, being the middle boy, consisting of a band of five brothers, would foreshadow what was to be his future. Leroy and his wife Ashley are the parents of four children. Ashley is the caregiver; given the fact Leroy is away on business rather frequently. Leroy joined the Rangers in 1999. He doesn’t make ‘the big bucks’ playing professional Hockey or Baseball. In fact, Leroy plays on a team we Americans tend to not check on in our morning paper. The team that doesn’t bother us when ‘they get killed’; nor are they the team we are typically fanatical about; the populace we have a tendency to overly glorify. No, Leroy is neither a Texas Ranger nor New York Ranger.

This is the story of a regular guy in Afghanistan. On May 26th, 2008, an American hero emerged in the midst of the chaos of combat. He doesn’t dodge pucks, catch or throw balls. He is the guy whom dodges and catches bullets; He’s the guy who throws Hand Grenades, all in the name of God, Country and Apple Pie. Leroy Petry represents your United States Army Rangers.

Sgt. Petry once again found himself in the middle of a Brotherhood of Five Boys. It was unusual to conduct this type of Special Operation in the day; typically it is under the cover darkness. The target was prioritized as a time sensitive objective thereby relinquishing the advantage of a night maneuver. What happens next epitomizes what seems to be lost in our nation’s capital. A leader does not ask his men to do anything he himself is not willing to do. A leader does not callously place his men in harms way. A leader leads his men. He stands next to them in danger, walks with them toward the front lines, and directs them in combat on the battlefield, not from behind the safety of a desk.

Upon arrival on the scene, the bands of brothers took immediate gunfire from the point of their objective. Sgt. Petry and PFC Luke Robinson coordinated their plan to neutralize the enemy, and then began their assault to accomplish the mission. They encountered heavy resistance, at which point the enemy wounded Robinson. Sgt. Petry, not realizing he himself had been shot through both thighs, led his subordinate to the safety of cover from further enemy attack. Leroy assessed the situation, reported the confrontation of the enemy, advised his team of their disabled posture, and then threw a Thermobaric Grenade in the direction of the enemy position. These actions permitted Sgt. Daniel Higgins to assist the wounded comrades, presently hunkered down behind the concealment of a chicken coop.

Soon after the arrival of Sgt. Higgins, the enemy succeeded in furthering their attack upon our American boys. The enemy introduction of a grenade detonated thereby wounding Higgins and as well as complicating Robinson’s injuries. The pinned down trio were joined shortly thereafter by SSG James Roberts and SPC Chris Gathercole. Once again the enemy lobbed a grenade at the chicken coop, landing within reaching distance of Leroy Petry, within the kill zone radius of his men.

In the words of Sgt. Petry, he describes his thoughts and what happened next:

"Get it out of here; get it away from the guys and myself. And I reached over, leaned over to the right, grabbed it with my hand, and I threw it as hard as I could, what I thought was at the time. And as soon as I opened my hand to let it go, it just exploded instantly. And I came back, and the hand was completely severed off."

Sgt. Leroy Arthur Peltry’s actions extended the lives of his assault team. After he placed a tourniquet on his severed wrist, the assault team was able to continue the firefight eventually eliminating the enemy. When the smoke cleared, the small Band of Brothers was fewer by one. Specialist Chris Gathercole was fatally wounded in the subsequent gun battle.

Without question Sgt. Leroy Petry is a hero. My problem with this is there are too many heroes associated with the politics of War. Simply too many soldiers are losing their lives, too many patriots are losing their limbs and too many veterans are unable to readjust when returning home. I look forward to the days of heroes without this association. I look forward to the return of the days of true heroes, the likes of Jefferson, Franklin and Lincoln. The days when principled men won the day with dialogue, debate and thought, appear to be but a distant memory. One has to ask the question, what happened to men like these? The obvious answer is they have lost their way, they have all sold out. One need only to look at the currency in their own pocket, if you care to visit these men of days gone by; provided you’re fortunate enough to have currency in your pocket; or a pocket for that matter.

The Medal Of Honor Ceremony

So on the day after the beginning of recorded time; July 19th, 2781 B.C., I’m left to wonder if this is the best we can expect from humanity. Four thousand seven hundred ninety-two years ago, someone in Egypt figured it might be a good idea to start recording time. Therefore I pose this question to one and all; how many more millennium will it take for mankind to stop cultivating new ways to annihilate each other?

By the way, a footnote; after this tormenting experience, after his rehab assignment, after learning how to function with his prosthetic, Sgt. Leroy Petry reenlisted and returned for another tour in Afghanistan.; because that’s what these guys have a tendency to do…And the reason is my friends; be there for their fellow comrades, their Brother in Arms.


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    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 5 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Once again Tusitala, well said.

      "They serve in near silence, absorb far more than their share and subsequently only find solace and comprehension among themselves." That phrase distinguishes my mentors, my comrades, my brothers.. from all others.

    • Tusitala profile image

      Tusitala 5 years ago

      You said it all. You put a face upon it. There is a dearth of information just such as this story is, sublimated by news of Corporate criminality and Political shennanigans verses the reality of putting it on the line.

      Beyond the heroics of the conflict incident is the greater heroic of returning to his "brothers". They serve in near silence, absorb far more than their share and subsequently only find solace and comprehension among themselves. The word I think I'm fumbling for is DISTINGUISHED. I frequently think the phase should be "BOND of BROTHERS".

      By the way GJ, you're ready to write your first novel, you've demonstrated many styles and a compassion and comprehension that screams to be let out. (Check out Preditors & when you do, you'll stay out of the hands of the deceitful and dishonest.)

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Thanks for that femme; Glad to hear it. I've been meaning to follow up on our service members. In case your interested, here is another impressive American.

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago


      I "pinned" this article to my "Thank You Veterans!" board on Pinterest.

      Sargeant Petry immediately got attention with "likes" and "re-pins" and comments.

      He deserves them. Thanks again for introducing him to us!


    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Thank you for your kind words. Thanks for the reminder, I've been meaning to pursue additional Medal of Honor recipients. Take care femme.

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago


      This is ... magnificient. You wrote it beautifully, and I'm sincerely thankful for your introduction of Sergeant Petry and his comrades.

      "Well done" is an understatment.


    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona


      Thanks for your comments. I agree with you,the manner in which he conducts himself is a forgotten treasure. He gives Americans something to think about. All, as you put it, with a humble disposition. Take care.gjf

    • LRCBlogger profile image

      LRCBlogger 6 years ago

      really well told. I've seen several interviews with him, he has been amazingly humble and his character is very strong. I think this is someone we should all admire.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Jason well said.

      Thanks for the comments. Cheers indeed.


    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      GJ, what amazing narrative, I wish I could vote this up several times. You said it best describing Sergeant Petry as a member of a team that American’s do not look up in the morning paper. Personally, I despise the “hero adulation” regular citizens foist on athletes. This story and so many others like it should be front page news. To top it off, he re-enlisted, amazing, what an example of a leader. Best of luck and spiritual protection to him. Cheers.