Soldier to recieve Medal of Honor next week

President Obama next Tuesday afternoon will present U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry with the Medal of Honor – the second living, active-duty service member to receive the nation’s highest military decoration for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry (Army photo)Petry, 31, will receive the medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty during combat in Paktya, Afghanistan in May 2008. He lost his right hand and suffered shrapnel wounds after throwing a grenade away from his fellow soldiers, according to the Army Times.

Petry, his wife, Ashley, and other family members will join the President at the White House’s East Room for the presentation.

Petry, a native of Santé Fe, N.M., enlisted in September 1999 and attended basic training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Ga.. He served multiple combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq totaling 28 months, and now is assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment and attached to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with duty at Joint Base Lewis McChord, serving as a liaison for the SOCOM Care Coalition by tracking and monitoring injured Rangers returning from war.

He already has received two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medal, three Army Good Conduct Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Combat Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Combat Star, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, among other decorations.

Army_Medal_of_HonorThe Code of Federal Regulations says the Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.