Medal of Honor recipient visits Fort Benning - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Medal of Honor recipient visits Fort Benning

(Source: National Infantry Museum Facebook Page) (Source: National Infantry Museum Facebook Page)

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - The second living recipient of the Medal of Honor, since the Vietnam War, was at Fort Benning, telling his story of bravery.

President Obama gave the honor to Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry about two weeks ago.

Monday, he toured the National Infantry Museum. Sergeant Petry lost his right hand while throwing a live grenade away from fellow soldiers three years ago. 

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who trained on Fort Benning to be a ranger, is back - this time, touring the National Infantry Museum, with the Medal of Honor around his neck.

He took us back to the day it all happened - May 26, 2008 in Afghanistan.

"We were still taking heavy enemy fire from combatants with Ak-47s," said Sgt. 1st Class Petry, typical mission or something more dangerous?' It wasn't our typical mission. It was a daylight raid."

While heading to the Taliban compound, Sergeant Petry first got shot through both his thighs.

"I felt the initial hit. It felt like a hammer hitting you in the leg. After that, it's adrenaline," said Sgt. 1st Class Petry, "There's a pineapple grenade sitting in between all three of us. Split-second decision, grab it, get it out of here. As I was throwing it, my hand opened up, just completely took the hand off. I knew something had to be done because it would've killed or seriously injured all of us."

And he did not stop, "The mindset was keep going, because I didn't want to leave my guys in a firefight," recounted Sgt. 1st Class Petry.

Meanwhile, his wife got word of his right hand being blown off, "She (my wife) said that was the worst day of her life, getting that knock at the door."

His severed hand has been replaced with a high-tech robotic artificial hand, allowing him to do things like shake people's hands.

Sgt. 1st Class Petry is currently assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning.

He serves as a liaison officer for the United States Special Operations Command Care Coalition—Northwest Region, aiding wounded warriors and injured service members.

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