The best of the best……….

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.

Petry is currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where he assists injured Rangers, and is attending Pierce College.

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.

About Gary Alexander

Volunteer coordinator for veterans support network in North Texas. Now retired from his private psychotherapy practice, I specialized in the diagnosis and treatment posttraumatic stress, working with victim assistance programs, veterans and the Veterans Administration for over 20 years. After being wounded in action in Vietnam, I was medically retired from the Marine Corps and know first hand many of the readjustment difficulties and psychological stresses experienced by today's OIF and OEF veterans. I am available, at minimal cost, to speak at your functions on several subjects including veterans issues, Vietnam, the Medal of Honor, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and critical incident debriefings.
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3 Responses to The best of the best……….

  1. Hap Arnold says:

    ….and “Murph” would have been the best judge.

    I’ll say what I’ve said for years now [paraphrasing]: “Whenever we Boomers get exasperated with the ‘youth of today,’ we need only turn to young men such as Leroy Petry and recent recipient Dakota Meyer to restore our faith in them.” The echoes of The Greatest Generation are there, if we but listen carefully enough. God bless ’em all.

  2. sleek says:

    Gary, welcome back. I have been going through blog withdrawal. Great post. I am once again, through your words and photos, humbled by these Medal of Honor Recipients. Thanks for all you have done to keep our eyes open to the amazing stories and unfailing humility that belong to all of these great Americans. Thanks……..Tim Montel

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