On Tuesday, the country's greatest military honor was awarded to Leroy Petry, a 28-year-old Army Ranger stationed out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma. That makes Petry one of only two living recipients of the Medal of Honor.
The story of how he earned it is worth hearing in full.From the official Army narrative of the events of May 26, 2008--Paktya, Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry, as a member of a Ranger helicopter assault force conducting a daylight rotary wing raid in the vicinity of Paktya, Afghanistan, distinguished himself conspicuously and with gallantry and intrepidness, by risking his life above and beyond the call of duty, during an extremely close and violent engagement with an extraordinarily determined and well armed enemy. During the initial engagement, Staff Sergeant Petry was shot through both legs and another Ranger was hit by enemy ?re. Shortly thereafter, an enemy hand grenade landed amid Staff Sergeant Petry and two other Rangers; despite his serious leg wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry unhesitatingly moved to the grenade, grabbed it, and immediately threw the armed grenade away from his fellow Rangers. The grenade detonated shortly after Staff Sergeant Petry threw it away from his fellow Rangers resulting in a catastrophic amputation of his right hand and multiple shrapnel wounds penetrating his body. This deliberate individual act of heroism by Staff Sergeant Petry saved the lives of his fellow comrades and allowed the completion of the mission.
A better way to honor SSgt. Petry's heroism: Bring the troops home.