Battle Rattle

New Silver Star Citation details corpsman’s 4 harrowing runs through gunfire to save Marines

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This post is from our friends at Navy Times. You can check out the full story in Monday’s issue of Marine Corps Times. 

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Zackery Penner will be awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in Afghanistan.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Zackery Penner will be awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in Afghanistan.

His squad had come under heavy fire – and was likely to face it again.



On June 22, 2012, Hospitalman Zackery Penner had risked life and limb to rush to care for a Marine shot during an patrol in Afghanistan with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. The Marine died due to the severity of his wound, a toll that hung heavy on the company.

On June 23, the squad was helping Afghan soldiers clear a compound when they came under sniper fire. Two men were hit: a Marine and an Afghan soldier. Insurgent machine guns roared.

What Penner did next would later earn distinction with the nation’s third highest award for valor.

The Silver Star citation, obtained by Navy Times, reports: “Hospitalman Penner unhesitatingly ran more than 100 meters across fire-swept terrain to reach the casualties. He established a casualty collection point behind a wall then moved in and out of the kill zone four times in order to retrieve the casualties and get them to cover. When the squad began receiving fire from the rear, Penner courageously shielded the casualties from the enemy fire with his own body until the evacuation aircraft arrived and then bravely exposed himself to enemy fire as he moved the casualties to the aircraft.”

Penner, now an HM3, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star at a March 19 ceremony in Pensacola, Fla.

Look for an exclusive interview with Penner in our upcoming issue of Marine Corps Times, out on newsstands Monday.

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  1. Judy harl Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    So proud of him.god bless all of them

  2. Sharon Erdely Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    We have so many young people that risk their lives for others. Bring our troops home. They are risking their lives for what.

  3. Xavier Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    To Sharon . There’s always gotta be some ass that can’t just congratulate someone they have to have some type of negative comment . Sharon “choke yourself”

    To the brave men in this story thank you for your service .

  4. Charles Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    BIG Ooh Rah, sailor!

  5. Cynthia McMullen Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Thank u for ur service & bravery..God Bless You!!

  6. northstar96sc Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    God Bless Our Military- Well Done Sailor! xoxox

  7. Frank Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Now this is heroism!!!!

  8. Kalob Garcia Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 5:06 pm


  9. Charles Sanson Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    The Navy Corpsman are the most respected members of any Marine Unit. Semper Fi.

  10. don slatton Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    from one “DOC” to another, JOB WELL DONE !
    Remember, the Marines already have a few good men, Navy Corpsman. Glad ya home safe.

  11. Scott Collins Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Oooh rah devil doc

  12. Harry Neff Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Sharon, they risk their lives for their sisters and brothers in uniform! THAT’S why they do what they do!I was a US Army medic and would have done the same thing for my people!

  13. Rose Corey Centeno Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    my son Juan Corey served in Afghanistan 18 mo.s all told and was injured a number of times doing what he felt was truly….. necessary… he was not looking for fame or honor……. but to preserve the rights and freedoms…… we take for granted at home for another Simply people of faith….. in the hopes they make a small change in the future this is an accomplishment the shares the dignity of this young medic he laid down all of his fear… and had faith… that he could rescue his soldier brothers from danger at every turn he resisted the response to flee he replace it with defend and protect this is the courage and honor that we can all be proud of and the fact he is still alive to encourage other make thye victory even sweeter Hooorah Sempre Fi & Eyahtahyeah wah Nameste’ Amen

  14. Wendy S. Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    To Xavier.. ‘thumbs up’ there always has to be a stupid twit like SharonErdley who should be banned from websites like this one….and don’t See what our Brave men and women are fighting for…. the ‘right for her to SAY’ stupid things…. As the Wife of a US Marine I have seen on a few occasions Navy personnel who serve with Marines because they love their ‘Brothers in Arms’ and if the Marine Corps HAD those kind of MOS’s they would be IN The Marine Corps not the Navy. Thank God for them, and Thank you HM3 Penner for your courageous Service to the Marine Corps. OoooRah!

  15. Carolina g. Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @ Sharon – for what you ask… For the freedoms America shows us we have, regardless of how unfree we feel or think, we are very well off from religiously based countries.

  16. GP Barley Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Congratulations. You join a long line of distinguished hero’s who wear and wore the Navy Hospital Corpsman Caduceus. You did us proud.
    GP Barley USN HM3

  17. cjpetoskey Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Congratulations Devil Doc. Oorah. Semper Fidelis

  18. Troy Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    a patrol*
    Now that that is out of the way, that man is what we all should be. Ooh-rah, corpsman.

  19. Josh Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I am so proud of the Men and Women Fighting for our right of freedom. Thank you so much.

  20. Brianna Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    So proud and thankful for all of our men and women in the service!

  21. Kimmel Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you for your services. All of you. And thank you doc for doing what you do. Brings me comfort knowing my brother, and friends are in good hands.

  22. Stacy Gwin Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you for your service for our country…. Thank you for all the men and women who are serving and who have served so we can have our freedom!!!!!! My son is a Marine and has done a tour in Afghanistan and I thank everyone over there for having each other’s back!!!!!! Congrats on the medal you deserve it…… May god bless you and all of our military… Thank you

  23. Courtney Wall Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Why to go Zachary Penner for your Heroic act <3

  24. William Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Only a Corpsman will walk through the gates of Hell for a wounded Marine.

  25. evan Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Hats off to this young man for his courage and for putting his own life in jeopardy to protect those who serve our country of all combatants foreign or domestic god bless you all

  26. Karen Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    A true American Hero. Hearing what these brave men and women are willing to do chokes me up. God Bless! Home of the BRAVE!

  27. Bobby Martinez Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Semper fi to our Navy Corpsman. I love those guys…

  28. Gerald Humphrey Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    He should have gotten the NAVY CROSS…Those sitting on the medals and awards board suck.

  29. Jackie McCollum Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    That is a selfless and dedicated warrior, hero, and life saving Patriot. Thank you, HM3 Zachary Penner.

    As a Marine mom, it gives me faith and comfort, that you and others like you, are serving. Very proud. God Bless the U.S.A.

  30. Jerry Sarkovics Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Without the Corpsmen to provide aide to the Marines on the battlefield, surely many, many more lives would be lost. They are the true heros of the front line rifle squad.
    Congradulations Doc. Well done. SEMPER FIDELIS.

  31. Sandy Harrison Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you for your bravery and honor. We remember and pray for you and all service men and women every day.

  32. zack Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    That is the bravest thing bro i look up to u

  33. Helen Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Well done – and God Bless all of our Troops and the USA.
    Glad to see all these great remarks (well except for one and
    her remarks don’t count).

  34. Dunca McCaskill Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I am a Viet Nam vet I have seen our Corpsmen in action. This man deserves nothing less than the Navy Cross.

  35. Old Gunny Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 12:15 am

    well done Doc

  36. Lynn Anderson Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 2:21 am

    I was just talking with a couple of Corpsmen students the other day! They stated they were graduating soon and looking forward to assignment with the FMF. I told them that to us Marines you are ours brothers and our guardians they replied Thank Sir! And took my hand! Semper Fi!

  37. Doc Elley Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Hoorah Devil Doc… Bravo Zulu!

  38. Erika Roberts Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Thank you Doc for your great sacrifice and for taking care of our Marines!! Forever grateful ~Marine Wife~

  39. Doc Nordy (FMF) Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Semper Fi, Doc Penner. Thank you for doing it right.

  40. Stephanie Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Outstanding job … to all our members of the military much respect and honor for your continued service, protection, and sacrifice away from family and friends … God Speed*

  41. Sandra Jackson-Lucia Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Wow! What a hero. Thank you, thank you Penner. YOU are what this country is all about. God bless you always!!!

  42. Ray Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    This guy is a hero in a sea of heroes. What a selfless act. Our men and women in uniform are to be commended for their sacrifices.

  43. Yvette Hinojosa holloway Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Thank you so much for your service!! When Uncle Sam tells these brave men and women to go, they go without question. They fight and keep harm at bay from the U.S. So next time, Sharon, you want to write smack about the military men and women and wonder what they’re fighting for, turn on your tv and actually LISTEN AND WATCH what our military is doing halfway around tbe world so JACKWAGONS LIKE YOU can live in NAMBY PAMBY LAND, drink your STARBUCKS coffee and write horse shit like you just did.


  44. Yvette Hinojosa holloway Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    SEMPER FI* (auto correct mistake ;))

  45. Susan McDermott Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    God Bless Devil Doc! Semper Fi!
    And God Bless all our men and women who serve. And their families who sacrifice. Wives, husbands, children who understand that freedom is not free. We owe them a great deal.

  46. CB Glover Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Navy Cross would be more appropriate

  47. Tom Couillard Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Devil Doc, you deserve nothing less than a Navy Cross. Thing is, Devil Docs are doing these heroics all the time. Why aren’t more Silver Stars and Navy Crosses being awarded. They’re all heroes!

  48. Kile Flihan Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Fucking awesome

  49. Robert Meenach Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I was a peace time Marine, but I know how much the Corpsmen are appreciated. He deserves more, at least the Navy Cross.

  50. Joseph Baker Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Semper Fi Sailor! Having served in the Marine Corp for 6 years, I know that corpsmen are the bravest members of any unit. Quite a few will step on the battlefield with no weapon at all except their med kit. Thankyou dear brother for your self-less dedication to our Marines. Oorah!

  51. JAG-Off Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Very well derserved! Any one of those heroic acts would warrant the Silver Star. Looking at the totality of what he did, the Navy Cross seems most appropriate.

  52. Marilyn Mazza Hamann Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    God Bless you, Doc!! As an aunt of a Marine who had one tour of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is still on active duty, I want to thank you from the bottom of my Italian-American heart for your bravery, your service, and heroism. Again, may God be with you, and bless you always!!

  53. Don Edwards Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I agree. He deserves at least the Navy Cross.

    Don Edwards
    Viet-Nam 1966

  54. Matt Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Such an awesome story. Wonder why it wasn’t a Medal of Honor nomination.

  55. Stephen long Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Just a Silver Star?
    I mean, for what he did, wouldn’t that at least call for the Navy Cross, with a possible bump up to a MOH?
    Regardless, if we ever meet, his drinks are on me.
    Your Humble Servant, Police Officer, Stephen Long (ret.) N.Y.P.D.

  56. dale seng Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    from one to another well done in stick, nuts , but we did well done semper fi

  57. HM1 [FMF] J. Smith, USN [Retired Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    HM3 Penner is the latest in a long line of FMF HMs who have been willing to sacrifice their lives in order to ensure the care and livelihood of our fellow Marines. In my 22 years of service, I have never been more comfortable, regardless of location, than when I was with Marines. Semper Fi HM3 Penner!! Glad to see my Marines are still in good hands.

    HM1 [FMF] James Smith, USN, Retired
    Desert Storm-1990
    Iraqi Freedom-2003

  58. Lisa Hopkins Says:
    March 15th, 2014 at 11:15 am

    My heart goes out to this man and all who served with him and before him. God Bless them all, including my son. The bravery they have goes beyond measure.

  59. Michael Zalenski Says:
    March 18th, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Keeping with the history of the Hospital Corps. From a retired FMF Corpsman to this fine young man, “you have honored us all by your heroism and we are proud of you” May God Bless You always. Job Well Done and Semper Fi.

  60. Heather Says:
    March 24th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    The Marine he risked his life to save on 23 June, was a very dear friend of mine. He was due to come home in 2 weeks and be the best man in our wedding. He never made it home. His loss has hung heavy on all our hearts. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it meant to myself and my husband to know that someone worked so hard and risked life and limb to be there for Hunter. And, we’re so glad he wasn’t alone. Thank you, HM3 Penner. Semper Fi.

    March 29th, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I just nominated our Nave Corpman in our MCL for the Marine of the year, He does wear the Egale Globe and Ancher.

    March 29th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    semper fi We as a Marine Corps League have selected our Chaplain A Nave Corpman as the Marine of the year for our Det. Well deserving.