President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to an Afghanistan war veteran, SFC Leroy Arthur Petry, for courageous actions during combat in Afghanistan in May, 2008.

In an emotional ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Obama spoke briefly before placing medal over his head. 

The White House says Petry is the second living, active-duty service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Petry, a native of Santa Fe, N.M., was shot in both legs and then lost a hand while throwing an enemy grenade away from himself and two fellow Army Rangers all the while continuing to call out orders so that his unit could fulfill its mission, according to soldiers who served with him.

"This could not be happening to a nicer guy, or to a more inspiring family." Obama said. "The medal of honor reflects the deepest gratitude of our entire nation."

Petry has enlisted in the Army indefinitely and has served eight tours in Afghanistan. 

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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