- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2012

A Medal of Honor recipient who lost part of his right arm in a firefight in Afghanistan says society doesn’t fully understand the mental injury that today’s veterans suffer.

Speaking Friday at the Warrior Resilience Conference in Washington, D.C., Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry said service members with internal injuries and psychological damage suffer the most, not necessarily those with external wounds.

Troops with visible injuries receive accolades, but those with unseen wounds are ignored, Sgt. Petry said, adding that whenever someone thanks him for his sacrifice, he makes sure those near him who have served also are thanked.

During a 2008 firefight in Afghanistan, the enemy tossed a grenade near Sgt. Petry’s colleagues. He picked it up to throw it away from their position, and it exploded in his hand.

In July, he was awarded the Medal of Honor — the medal’s second living recipient since the Vietnam War.

An Army Ranger, Sgt. Petry was one of the nearly 9,000 special operations forces who serve in Afghanistan today. He said some of his friends have deployed as many as 15 times.

“Normal Rangers aren’t going to take breaks on their own,” he said.

He said that one of his close friends suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder had tried to commit suicide several times.

He said after he was called to his friend’s side after the most recent attempt — the only one Sgt. Petry was aware of at that time — he made sure he was there whenever his friend needed him. Today, that friend is doing well, he said.

Sgt. Petry said his friends helped him through his own recovery.

“A lot of times people don’t want to tell their superiors how they’re doing,” he said. “Everyone needs a buddy — battle buddy, wingman, shipmate, friend, family, readiness group.

“It’s your peers that will get you though,” he said.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide