New Mexico (The Gaslamp Post) – The brave accomplishments of native New Mexican will be honored with a statue in his image. Army SFC Leroy Petry was awarded the congressional medal of honor in 2011, after losing his hand while trying to save fellow his fellow Rangers during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2008.
SFC Petry had been wounded, shot through both legs while pinned down in a firefight, when an enemy grenade had landed near his fellow soldiers. Thinking only of saving everyone else, he grabbed it in an attempt to get it clear of everyone before it exploded.
It detonated just after leaving his fingers, blowing away his right hand.
The 10 foot tall statue is being erected in front of Sante Fe city hall, and will be surrounded by concrete benches, a brick walkway, and plants. SFC Petry was welcomed home to his native Sante Fe last year after being awarded the prestigious citation by President Obama last year.
Throughout it all, SFC Petry has remained very humble, and thinks only of his duty to his country.
“He’s really overwhelmed with this,” said his father, Larry Petry. “He keeps saying, ‘Dad, I was just doing my job; any other solider would have done it,’ and I said, ‘Well, son, you did something great, and they really want to honor you for that.'”
SFC. Petry’s actions are being proudly celebrated, and commemorated for posterity in bronze. His citation and account of the battle is as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008.
As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters.
Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position.
The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel.
A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and 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. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed.
Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army.
God Bless you SFC Petry, and thank you for your service!