The Scoop Deck

Corpsman who shielded wounded Marine to receive Silver Star


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 Marine Regiment. 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 Navy Times, out on newsstands Monday.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


  1. MGySgt Theodore Butenas Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    You are an American Hero! Thanks for serving! Always Faithful

  2. Doc Joe Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    You have made all of us Corpsman proud! I’m sure your Marines will remember you for the rest of their lives.
    good Job, Doc! Good job.

  3. Ret Corpsman Doc JT Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Corpsman Up! Thanks Devil Doc for your unselfish valor!

  4. MarineMom Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    All Marine moms love our corpsman. Thank you so very much.

  5. Jeff Lucas Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Good job Doc! You damned sure earned your pay!

  6. Valerie Gorman Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    As the wife of a former corpsman turned Marine, I would like to give honor to this outstandingly brave man.

  7. Doc Steve Lepley Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    BZ Doc. You are definitely a Devil Doc

  8. John O Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Fuck yea brother well done. sf

  9. Frank Mase Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you for making us docs proud. Ooh rah, Devil Doc.

  10. EM1(SS) (RET) Bruce Says:
    March 13th, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Total stud!! My dad was (always will be) a Marine…I always love hearing love to hear how people take care of his brothers.

  11. Steve Penner Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Nicely done Zac, very proud. Thank You!

  12. garcia3460 Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Semper Fi devil DOC

  13. M D Peters Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I grew up with Zack’s father, was able to watch this boy grow and mature as well and I know the values that were instilled in him. It began in his heart & mind, nurtured with the dedication of service and evident in his performance of duty. This boy became a man and earned the highest honor of giving & sacrifice of oneself to save and protect those of his fellow Man. Whatever the merit bestowed upon him for saving their lives, he has Earned It With Distinction….Zack – Stand Tall, Stand Proud, and know you have everyone’s Admiration – “Honor, Courage, Commitment” and “Semper Fi.”

  14. Sgt Guay Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Outstanding!! I was an Infantry squad leader and Navy corpsman have the upmost respect! They rush into chaos on top of chaos! Outstanding doc unfortunately if you are the officer it would have been a Navy cross.. my opinion. common valor was a common virtue Chester Nimitz

  15. Steve Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    As a FMF Corpsman in VN in 1968, I was presented with the Silver Star and reading what this man did adds such an inspiration and shows the true mettle of the FMF Corpsman and what they will do for their Marine Brothers.

    Semper Fi

  16. Hank Nimitz Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Zack, Grant just shared this article with me. Very proud of you!! American Hero!!


  17. Gayle Hage Says:
    March 15th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Zach grew up two doors away from us! We knew he was special then and we certainly are know it now! He is pretty amazing. Proud to know him!

    Steve and Gayle Hage

  18. Pete Cahill Says:
    March 15th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    As a former Marine,I’ve had the privilage to know many corpsman. Although I never saw combat,I know of sacrafices,spirit & courage these men have. I just want to say also,the Marines that have a corpsman(or two) that are with thier unit are highly respected thought of as a brother. Thank God for corpsman. God Bless & Semper Fi.

  19. Charlie Nimitz Says:
    March 15th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    What a story!! What a hero!! Allene and I are very proud of you. We’ve seen you grow up into a hero. This is something to cherish the rest of your life.
    Charlie and Allene

  20. Tress Putnam Says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Zack, I’ll be working at Dewey School for your mom while your family makes the trip to see you receive your Silver Star. They are so very proud of you. Who would have ever known years ago when you were in my first grade class that your would be where you are now having accomplished all that you have. Thank you for your great service to our country. I’m very proud of you!

  21. Jude Hryce Says:
    March 17th, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Zack – I’m so very proud of you and all you have accomplished! This honor is well-deserved!

  22. Barbara Hamilton Says:
    March 17th, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Congratulations, Zack on your courage and bravery. I am proud to say I knew you when…Well done!

  23. MGySgt Little Says:
    March 19th, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    When we are running to our office buildings to avoid getting wet or stuck in traffic going home at 1645 or we have to stand in formation for a 30 minute award ceremony, it’s stories and servicemembers like this that remind us that we have nothing to complain about!! OUTSTANDING JOB SHIPMATE!!!

  24. RP1(FMF) Bejarano Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Brother (Doc) God Bless you many more times and years! Thank you for your service and representing the FMF Sailors!

  25. Richard Congo Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Your actions are in keeping with the proud traditions of FMF Hospital Corpsman who deploy with Marines worldwide in wartime situations. Stand tall, stand proud, wear this Silver Star with great pride, for you have earned it. You are an American Hero! Thank you for your service!