Medal of Honor recipient Master Sgt. Leroy Petry (retired) will speak to the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Petry’s talk is part of the corps’ Cutchins Leadership Lecture Series is open to the public. It begins at 3:30 p.m. in Burruss Auditorium on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. Public seating is available behind the cadets in the back half of the auditorium.
Petry, an Army Ranger, deployed twice to Iraq and six times to Afghanistan.
On May 26, 2008, he was serving as a weapons squad leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Paktya Province, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked. Wounded in both legs, he led his Rangers to cover.
A grenade explosion wounded two Rangers with shrapnel and a second then landed a few feet away. Petry picked up the grenade in an effort to throw it away from the men.
“As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds,” according to his Medal of Honor citation. “Although picking up and throwing a live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed.”
Petry lost his right hand and was fitted with a prosthetic. After he recovered from the injuries, he returned to the 75th Ranger Regiment Army to serve as a liaison officer for the Special Operations Command Care Coalition, which helps wounded soldiers and their families.
Now retired from the Army, Petry is enrolled in college with goals to earn a degree in business management and own his own business. In addition, he serves on many boards that work to improve the lives of veterans and our military.