Sorry for my extended absence… still suffering a little burnout after six years, plus a week in Louisville for the Medal of Honor convention… 1700+ miles round trip and more than once Don, Mike and I were “overserved” as Don’s refers to it.
The highlight of the gathering was spending time with SFC Leroy Petry, the second living Recipient of this long war who saved the lives of his men by throwing away an enemy hand grenade which exploded just as he released it. Citation here.
What impressed me was that Petry shakes hands with his state-of-the-art prosthetic called an iLimb Pulse … giving no concession to his injury and thereby destigmatizes the avoidance factor that we able-bodied have with physical handicaps. His hand rotates 360 with articulation in all fingers and thumb, produces the right amount of grip and grasp and yes, it can reproduced the universal “we’re number one” hand gesture when road rage demands it.
Petry and his wife Ashley have four children: Ashley’s three children from a previous relationship (Brittany, Austin and Reagan), whom Petry is raising as his own, and one son, Landon. Petry reenlisted in May 2010.
On the prosthetic is a small plaque listing the names of the fallen Rangers of his regiment; that’s the kind of man he is.
After recovering, Petry did not seek a medical discharge; and deployed to Afghanistan between recovering and receiving the Medal of Honor on 12 July 2011. He has served in a series of combat tours, totaling 28 months within 8 deployments, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is a great addition to the nation’s greatest heroes, well-grounded, very generous with his time and is a tremendous leader for this generation’s military…. because he leads from the front, old-school style.
Audie Murphy would have liked him.