For the ninth consecutive year, Daytona International Speedway is honored to welcome Congressional Medal of Honor recipients to the Coke Zero Sugar 400 weekend festivities.
The program actually began in 1969, when Bill France Sr. invited all surviving Medal of Honor recipients to attend the 1969 race, dubbing it the Medal of Honor Firecracker 400. A total of 100 members from 31 states attended the race with Thomas J. Kelly, the president of the Medal of Honor Society, serving as the grand marshal with the heroes flown in via military aircraft.
That proud tradition continues this year with three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients set to honored as Daytona International Speedway and race fans everywhere will pay tribute to these brave heroes that have “distinguished himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty.”
Master Sergeant Leroy Petry (Afghanistan)
Place/Date: 26 May 2008, Pakita, Afghanistan
Date of Issue: 07/12/2011
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Master Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Master Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Master Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Master Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Master Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Master Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Master Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Master Sergeant Petry's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army.
Be there July 7 to welcome Master Sergeant Petry and our other distinguished Medal of Honor heroes to the World Center of Racing for an Independence Day weekend celebration unlike any other, including an autograph session inside UNOH Fanzone at 3:45p.m. Get your UNOH Fanzone/pre-race access today!
Have a note for Master Sergeant Petry? Leave a comment below!
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