Prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LII, 15 Medal of Honor recipients will be honored on-field at U.S. Bank Stadium, taking part in the pregame coin toss, a group that includes two decorated Army veterans with ties to the Seahawks.
Master Sergeant Leroy Petry, who received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2008, led the Seahawks out of the tunnel carrying the American flag prior to their Salute to Service game in 2013.
Petry, who is from Santa Fe, New Mexico, was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord after re-enlisting in 2010 and has called the Puget Sound region home since then. While he's a Cowboys fan first, Petry has become a Seahawks fan since moving to the area, noting, "I cheer for the Seahawks too because they're in my backyard. Gotta root for the home team."
Also taking part in the pregame ceremony on Sunday will be Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha, who received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2009.
Romesha, a North Dakota resident, is a longtime Seahawks fans who was a guest of the team on the sideline prior to the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field in January of 2015.
Petry will be in Minneapolis with son Austin West, the oldest of his and wife Ashley's four children. West is on track to graduate from Central Washington University this spring, then plans to enlist in the Army or Air Force, Petry said, making this trip even more special.
"This is a lifetime memory for me," said Petry, who did six tours of duty in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. "It's a great opportunity. It'll be a lifetime memory for us to share."
As for who Petry likes in the big game, it's a tough call, but the Cowboys fan in him can't root for an NFC East rival.
"Nobody wants the Pats to wins, but being a Cowboys fan, I'd rather see the Pats beat the Eagles so they can be disgruntled fans again," he said.
Petry, Romesha and 13 other Medal of Honor recipients will participate in the on-field coin toss ceremony, with World War II veteran Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams flipping the coin. Williams, 94, received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Ten of the Medal of Honor recipients honored Sunday served in Vietnam, while Petry, Romesha and two others received the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States, for their service in Afghanistan.
"They're still my heroes today," Petry said of those who served before him. "Our oldest recipient attending (Williams) is a World War II veteran. He carried the flamethrower in Iwo Jima. It's like family when we get together."
Photos from several of the Seahawks Salute to Service activities that took place in Week 11 at CenturyLink Field.