Kaneland grad to return from Afghanistan

Photo: Gen. David Petraeus (left) and Private First Class Thomas Leonard. Courtesy photo

AFGHANISTAN—U. S. Army Private First Class (PFC) Thomas Leonard, 24, recently returned home from a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is a Kaneland High School graduate.

PFC Leonard joined the Army in November 2009. He is a Combat Engineer with the 2nd Engineer Battalion based in White Sands, New Mexico. A Combat Engineers’ job is to clear the paths and roadways of IEDs and bombs.

PFC Leonard was deployed to Afghanistan on May 2, 2010. He was injured in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion on Sept. 19, 2010, that critically injured another soldier during combat operations. PFC Leonard was blown 20 feet from the blast and suffered a severe concussion and shrapnel to the neck. Despite his injuries, he saw a fellow soldier severely injured and rendered life saving aid. For his actions, PFC Leonard was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor by General David Petraeus. He was also awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries.

PFC Leonard is a father of one and lives in Aurora.