Earlier this month, in a ceremony to honor great American military heroes, our nation's third-highest honor for combat valor, the Silver Star, was presented to 12 United States Army Rangers, all members of the First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, home-stationed here at Hunter Army Airfield. All 12 medals, including two, with great sadness, presented posthumously, resulted from individual acts of courage and leadership, in Afghan enemy contact, to protect the lives of their fellow soldiers, as well as, when needed, rescue comrades pinned-down or wounded by overwhelming enemy fire. As with our first responders who run to danger, not from it, American military bravery, especially among our Rangers, Night Stalkers, and other multi-branch, special-operations units, is continually displayed by those who head toward gun-fire and conflict, not from it.
Adding to the significance and dignity of these Silver Star presentations at Hunter was the presence of Sergeant First-Class Leroy Petry, a very special brother-Ranger. Very special, because Sergeant Petry was recently awarded the Medal of Honor, for his extraordinary actions, at personal sacrifice, while deployed to the fight in Afghanistan. It was a true honor to have him in our midst, as he came to support all of our 1/75th soldiers on that special day of tribute. Our congratulations and enormous thanks to Sergeant First-Class Petry, to our Silver Star recipients, and to all of our Rangers and fellow special-operations forces who quietly, courageously, and effectively strive to protect the security of America, no matter the personal cost.