25 May 2012

'Remember the Fallen, Embrace the Living'

A plaque bolted onto the prosthetic arm of Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry lists the names of 19 men killed in action from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment over the last 30 years. Petry lost his arm the same day that one of those men, Spc. Christopher Gathercole, was killed. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

From today's Stars and Stripes:

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry felt that honoring just one of his fallen comrades wasn’t enough.

So he had a plaque bearing the names of 19 fallen soldiers — all of the men from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment who have been killed in combat over the last 30 years — bolted to his right arm instead.

“I carry them all, because they’re all part of my family,” he said. “And I have a little more real estate on my arm to work with than most people.”

Petry lost his right hand and forearm to injuries suffered in a Memorial Day firefight four years ago, when he saved two soldiers by tossing away an enemy grenade that had landed nearby.

He received the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice, and used his new prosthetic arm, with plaque attached, to shake the president’s hand at the award ceremony.

“There’s hardly a unit out there today that hasn’t lost somebody,” he said. “They get it. You never forget. You always try to remember the fallen, and embrace the living.”

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