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SFC Leroy A. Petry to Recieve Congressional Medal of Honor
Posted By Robbie Cooper On 6/1/2011 @ 7:24 am In Military | 15 Comments
For only the second time in the current wars being waged in Afghanistan and Iraq, a living Soldier will be awarded  the United States Congressional Medal of Honor:
An Army Ranger who lost his right hand after throwing a live grenade away from fellow soldiers will be the second living Medal of Honor recipient from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Army.
On July 12, President Barack Obama will award Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry with the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktia, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008.
“It’s very humbling to know that the guys thought that much of me and my actions that day, to nominate me for that,” Petry was quoted in an Army news release. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military honor.
On the summer day three years ago, Petry and his soldiers participated in a rare daylight raid to capture a high-value target, the Army said. At the time Petry was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Petry was to stay with platoon headquarters in a building already deemed safe, but he noted that one of the platoons needed help clearing a building and he made his way there, according to the Army’s account. Once part of the building had been cleared, Petry and Pfc. Lucas Robinson moved to the outer courtyard, which had not been cleared by U.S. soldiers. The pair, both Rangers, encountered three enemy fighters.
Petry was wounded by a bullet that went through both of his legs. Robinson was hit in his side plate by another bullet. While wounded and under enemy fire, Petry led Robinson to cover in a nearby chicken coop and called for backup.
As team leader Sgt. Daniel Higgins began to inch his way to his wounded comrades, Petry threw a thermobaric grenade toward the enemy fighters, which resulted in a brief lull in the fighting. Higgins reached the chicken coop just as an insurgent-thrown grenade landed near the three Rangers, wounding Higgins and Robinson.
Another enemy-tossed grenade landed just a few feet from Higgins and Robinson. Petry – despite his wounds and with complete disregard for his personal safety – “consciously and deliberately risked his life to move to and secure the live enemy grenade and consciously throw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers,” according to the release, citing battlefield reports.
As Petry released the grenade it detonated. He lost his right hand but continued fighting after managing to tie a tourniquet on his arm.
In the meantime, Staff Sgt. James Roberts and Spc. Christopher Gathercole reached the courtyard and joined the fighting. During the volley of gunfire, Gathercole was killed.
Higgins and Robinson returned fire and killed the enemy.
Moments later, Sgt. 1st Class Jerod Staidle, the platoon sergeant, and Spc. Gary Depriest, the platoon medic, arrived to help their fellow soldiers.
Higgins later wrote in a statement, “if not for Staff Sergeant Petry’s actions, we would have been seriously wounded or killed,” the release states.
Petry is the ninth servicemember named a recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan and Iraq; all but Petry and Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta were awarded the honor posthumously.
There is no doubt in my mind that all of those Soldier deserve the MoH for their heroic and brace actions that day. And I’ll bet everything I own that SFC Petry would tell you the same thing — he’d tell you that he’s no hero. That he was just doing his job.
But when SFC Petry called for help from his pinned down position, his brothers responded. They ran towards the gunfire.
Normal people run or hide when they hear gunfire. That’s what every instinct in your body tells you to do. Get away. Don’t get harmed. Preserve life.
But these men are not normal people. They are US Army Rangers.. They charge the ambush, run towards the gunfire, return aggression with aggression.
As one of these elite operators put it after his first trip to Afghanistan in 2001:
“When the enemy starts firing from their ambush positions, they expect you to run, they expect you to cower, and they expect you to die. They do not expect 210 pounds of assaulter running straight at them firing precisely, alongside three equally physical specimens, looking like the four horsemen of the fucking apocalypse, with a ton more guys right behind them. The message we send is simple: You want to kill me bro? You want to kill my boys? You’re gonna have to fucking earn it. Cause we sure as shit aren’t backing down.”
If you look closely at the news you see it every day: the Iraq vet that charges the guy with the pistol in the airport. The Afghanistan vet who disarms a knife attacker. It isn’t that the American Soldier isn’t afraid. It isn’t that he doesn’t value his life or that he is brainwashed. It’s that he understand the reality of the world.
There are only two options in life. Fight or flight. Most people run. Almost all people run. But not US Soldiers. And especially not US Army Rangers.
The difference between our military and everyone else is that they run towards the gunfire.
And that makes all the difference.
The importance of having living Medal of Honor recipients cannot be overstated. I’ve me many of these men — all old men, for whom the wars are distant memories. And I’ve never been more honored than to be in their company. If you’ve ever been around a living MoH recipient and a bunch of other Soldiers, you will notice the obvious respect and admiration that his fellow Soldiers bestow on them.
But soon, most of these old Heroes will soon pass. And the shamefully low number of recipients from these two drawn out and brutal wars will be left to carry on in their stead. There are doubtlessly many, many more Soldiers and Marines who deserved this high honor.
I’m sure SFC Petry would be the first to agree.
Previous to SFC Leroy A. Petry’s soon to be presented Medal of Honor, there have been 8 other recipients who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Seven of which were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. They are:
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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://urbangrounds.com/wp-content/uploads/SFC_Leroy_Petry.jpg
 will be awarded: http://www.stripes.com/news/army-ranger-to-be-awarded-medal-of-honor-1.145202
 SPC Ross A. McGinnis: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/05/pfc-mcginnis-medal-of-honor.html
 SFC Paul R. Smith: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/05/sfc-paul-smith.html
 PO2 Michael A. Monsoor: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/05/po2-michael-monsoor-medal-of-honor-a-celebration-of-his-life-and-valor.html
 Cpl Jason L. Dunham: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/04/cpl-jason-l-dun.html
 SSG Salvatore Giunta: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2010/11/ssg-salvatore-a-giunta-medal-of-honor.html
 SSG Robert J. Miller: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2010/10/ssg-robert-j-miller-sf-medal-of-honor.html
 SFC Jared C. Monti: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/12/sfc-jared-monti-medal-of-honor.html
 LT Michael P. Murphy: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/05/lt-michael-murp.html
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