Earle Leslie Petty, Jr. entered the U.S. Army at age 16 in 1953. During his career, he went to Germany, as well as served three tours of duty in Vietnam and Laos. Earle joined the elite group of Special Forces in 1965. He attended Ranger school and U.S. Navy school. Only 12 Special Forces members were chosen to attend the elite Seal training. Earle also attended Halo training at Ft. Bragg, NC, and graduated in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was stationed both at Ft. Benning, GA, and Ft. Bragg during his Army career. Earle also was deployed to Cuba during the Cuban Crisis. He wore his Green Beret (motto of Special Forces) proudly, his love for his country was beyond first and foremost in his life. Entering the military at such a young age, he later pursued his education and obtained his Bachelors degree. Earle was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, three Purple Hearts due to injuries in Vietnam, three Bronze stars with oak leaf clusters for valor and was also awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallentry. He served under the Commands of General William Westmoreland and General Yarborough. Earle retired from the Army in September of 1973, being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. He also attended the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Ft. Holabird, MD. Upon early retirement, he went to work for the Melbourne Police Department under Chief Croton. Upon leaving Melbourne P.D. he went to work for the Brevard County Sheriff's Department under Sheriff Jake Miller, as Jail Commander. Earle left the Sheriff's Department in 1994 to take the Police Chief position in Sebastian, FL. In 1996, he was contacted by the United Nations to head the International Police Task Force in Bosnia. He worked with the state department to assemble a group of 200 police officers from around the world to train Bosnian police officers. In 1993, Earle underwent emergency heart surgery at Holmes Regional Medical Center. One year later, he won several gold medals at the International Law Enforcement Olympics in cycling. He was a very accomplished cyclist. After Earle's return from Bosnia, he went back to Brevard County Sheriff's Office under Sheriff Phil Williams. He stayed on with the Sheriff's Department, retiring as South Precinct Commander in 2005. Earle always said it was an honor and privilege to serve his country and wear the Green Beret. He was a lifetime member of the John Wayne Chapter 21 Special Forces Association of Merritt Island, FL and was also a member of the Florida Police Chief's Association. Earle was born in Gross Pointe Farms, MI, to Earle & Beverlee Petty on February 13, 1936. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of 58 years who he loved and respected dearly. He also leaves his sons, Steven (Susan) Petty, Earle L. (Crystell) Petty III, and daughter, Lisa Oas, brother Walter S. (Mary) Petty, II, sisters Tommy Lu Conlogue and Sandra (Dale) Kile. Earle has six grandchildren, Brock, Bailey, Kaytlin, Wyatt, Garrett, and Chelsea, and two great grandchildren, Kirra and Tristan. He is predeceased by his parents, daughter, Leslie Jean Petty, grandmother, Mae Carson Vigneault, and uncle, Francis W. Vigneault. Earle's granddaughter, Bailey Alexander, has made him so proud by obtaining her degree in Psychology at the University of Alabama. He was an avid Bama fan.
Visitation will be Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm at Ammen Family Cremation and Funeral Care, 1001 South Hickory Street, Melbourne. His funeral service will be Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy's Scott Center, 5625 Holy Trinity Drive, Melbourne.
In Lieu of flowers please consider donations to Hospice of Health First, 1900 Dairy Road, West Melbourne, 32904.