We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France

Songs for a Hero

Lucas Peerman, who is Leroy Petry’s cousin and the digital editor of the Las Cruces Sun-News, had written one of the articles I’d used in researching for my blog entry on SFC Petry. He has also been blogging about the experience on his own blog, A Week in Washington. When Miguel Estrada posted on comment on my blog entry that he had some songs he’d like to give to SFC Petry on a CD, I passed along his contact information to Lucas. Lucas contacted Miguel and, if you read Lucas’s blog entry, you can learn a bit about Migeul and download his songs. It’s a great tribute to our troops by a patriot who adopted this land, just as all of our own ancestors did over the years.

If you’ve seen “Taking Chance“, with Kevin Bacon, I think you’ll find that though Lucas has several marvelous entries in his blog, but tops on the list must be the story of a Marine who felt honored just to share a beer with Leroy.

SFC Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor

When you walk through the bunkers at Pointe du Hoc, or look down the cliffs, or notice how intact the bunkers are after thousands of bombs and 67 years, you wonder how it could ever have been taken. Colonel Rudder led 225 men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion up the cliffs and into the bunkers. Where do we find men such as these?

In Sante Fe, New Mexico, Steven Drysdale and his cousin, Leroy Petry, were inseperable. As boys do, they fought each other occasionally, but “Everybody liked Leroy. He was always smiling, laughing, bonding with people.” Petry wanted to join the Army since he was seven years old. After Steven joined the Army and became a Ranger, Leroy followed suit.

On Memorial Day, 2008, near Paktia, Afghanistan, Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, and another Ranger advanced into the courtyard of a compound in Afghanistan and came under fire. During the fight, after Petry had already been shot through both legs, a grenade was tossed near Petry and his comrades. He moved to it and picked it up to toss it away, thinking, “It was probably going to kill all three of us. I had time to visually see the hand grenade. And I figure it’s got about a four-and-half second fuse, depending on how long it has been in the elements and the weather and everything and how long the pin has been pulled. I figure if you have time to see it you have time to kick it, throw it, just get it out there.”

Petry was wrong about the time on the fuse, but right in his instincts. Unfortunately, when the grenade exploded, it amputated his right hand. He put a tourniquet on himself, reported his wound and continued to communicate until they had eliminated the opposition.

Petry has reenlisted and plans a long career in the Army, helping other servicemembers who have lostt limbs readapt to society.

I guess we find these men on playgrounds in New Mexico, in the streets of New York, the hills of Tennessee or just about anywhere you search in this great country of ours.

%d bloggers like this: