TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
AP: ap_16715bf07635e112530f6a706700b892
Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry addresses the classl of 2014 at the 321st commencement at the College of William & Mary on May 11, 2014 in Williamsburg, Va. Petry also recieved an honorary degree from the college. (AP)

The soldier behind the medal

I interviewed a soldier who received the Medal of Honor, Sgt. Leroy Petry. When you prepare for an interview like that, you're going to meet somebody who was practically killed in battle, and you feel a little intimidated.

He told me his story, which I'm sure he's told hundreds of times, but it's certainly worth hearing. His company of Army Rangers were trying to take an enemy compound in Afghanistan. And of course, they were ambushed. The guns opened up, he was hit by a bullet, he and his group were knocked to the ground by a grenade. And then, as he's lying there in the dirt, he sees another grenade bouncing just a foot or so away. And that one would've finished them all off had he not grabbed it and flung it as hard as he could even as it exploded in his hand.

He lost his hand; he lost part of his arm. As he told me this story, he said he didn't feel anything, just that he had to do something to protect his buddies. So, with his remaining hand, he tied a tourniquet around his injured arm, called for help, and he got them out of there.

Most of us will never be tested in that way. I have no idea how I'd react, you have no idea how you'd react, even if you'd be able to go on with the rest of your life. When I met Sgt. Petry, he had a big smile, he was happy to shake my hand with his new mechanical one.

He's still in the Army today. He counsels families that get the same news his parents did the day he was injured. He ended his interview with me with a request for when you meet somebody in uniform. You usually say, "Thank you for your service." That's kind of a timeworn phrase now. Sgt. Petry told me that a little thumbs up is a good way to know you understand the price they're willing to pay.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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