Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Leroy enjoyed an active youth and joined the US Army after graduating from Saint Catherine’s Indian High School in May 1998, Petry spent the next year working with his father and grandfather at Pecos Public Transportation working in the maintenance department and making signs at AI Signs.
In September 1999, Petry enlisted in the United States Army from his hometown in New Mexico, something he wanted to do since he was 7 years old. Petry then volunteered for the 75th Ranger Regiment because of its reputable history.
After completion of One Station Unit Training, the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program – all at Fort Benning – Petry was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He served as a grenadier, squad automatic rifleman, fire team leader, squad leader, operations sergeant and a weapons squad leader.
He has deployed eight times in support of overseas contingency operations with two tours to Iraq and six tours to Afghanistan.
On 26 May 2008, during his seventh deployment, Petry was a member of a team on a mission to capture a Taliban target in the Paktia Province. Despite being wounded in both legs by gunfire, Petry continued to fight and give orders. When a grenade landed between him and two other soldiers, Petry grabbed it and attempted to throw it away from them. He saved the soldiers’ lives but the grenade exploded, severing his right hand.
Petry became the second recent living recipient of the medal for the war in Afghanistan in 2011 when he received the award from U.S. President Barack Obama. Opting to reenlist in spite of his injury, Petry remained in the U.S. Army until his retirement on 29 July 2014.
His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Combat Life Saver Course, U.S. Army Ranger Course, Warrior Leader Course, Jumpmaster Course, Advanced Leader Course, Senior Leader Course and Combatives Level One Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, the Parachutist Badge and Canadian Jump Wings.
He has also been awarded two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, Valorous Unit Award, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Combat Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Combat Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 3, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon.
Petry and his wife have four children. His father lives in Pecos, N.M., and his mother lives in Bernalillo, N.M. Petry has four brothers and when he is not spending time with his family, he enjoys golf, pheasant hunting and fishing.