Obama to award Medal of Honor to living soldier

President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry on July 12, the White House has announced.

Petry will be just the second living, active duty member of the military to receive the honor since the end of the Vietnam War, as well as the second to be given the award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. The first was Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, to whom Mr. Obama presented the Medal of Honor last November.

Petry will be awarded for "his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan in May, 2008," according to the White House.

Born in 1979, Petry is a native of Sante Fe, New Mexico, who enlisted in the Army in 1999. He has completed multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq for a total of 28 months of deployment, and has already been awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, among other decorations.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to those who "distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty."

"The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life," the White House said. "There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit."

No details on Petry's actions in Paktya, Afghanistan, in May 2008 were immediately made available.