President Barack Obama this afternoon awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Ranger Sgt. Leroy Petry for “extraordinary heroism” shown during a raid on a Taliban compound in Afghanistan in 2008. It marked only the second time since the Vietnam War that the honor has been given to a living recipient.
Leroy received the commendation for grabbing a live grenade and tossing it away, likely saving the lives of two fellow servicemen. Unfortunately, the grenade went off, severing Leroy’s hand.
One of the people who died during that same firefight on May 26, 2008 was 21-year-old Army Specialist Christopher Gathercole of Santa Rosa. He was the first North Coast soldier to die in combat in Afghanistan.
Gathercole’s brother, Edward Gathercole of Santa Rosa, was at the White House ceremony – and stood when recognized by the president.
Here’s a link to a Washington Post photo gallery of the ceremony.
- Paul Gullixson