FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 6, 2010) [By Tracy A. Bailey, 75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs].
“Fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession,” a phrase from the Ranger Creed, but one that Sgt. Jonathan K. Peney, 22, lived and died by as a Ranger combat medic.
“Sgt. Peney was a devoted and extraordinary Ranger medic,” said Capt. Andrew Fisher, 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment physician assistant. “He possessed all of the talents and maturity necessary to excel both personally and professionally in any organization.”
Peney, who was assigned to Co. D, 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., was on his fourth combat rotation as the company medic when he was killed by enemy forces.
For his actions on and off the battlefield, Peney was posthumously awarded the 2010 U.S. Army Special Operations Command Medic of the Year and the Special Operations Medical Association Medic of the Year.
“Intrinsically motivated, Sgt. Peney captivated the medical staff’s attention as one to watch for positions of greater responsibility,” said Fisher. “He was always searching for ways to increase his understanding of medicine and ultimately provide the better care for his patients.”
When Peney’s company deployed ahead of the battalion, Peney volunteered to deploy with them. He had just nine days to recover after graduating from the grueling U.S. Army Ranger School and left his new bride of just a few months.
“Sgt. Peney could not stay back and watch his platoon deploy to a combat zone without him,” said Fisher. “This is a testament to his selfless service. “
While on his final deployment in support of the war on terror, Peney treated casualties from two separate enemy engagements.
The first engagement was a complex attack on an airfield in Afghanistan, a Soldier stepped on a land mine and Peney applied a tourniquet and stopped the bleeding before directing the Soldier’s evacuation to a higher level of medical care.
In the second engagement, without regard for his own safety, Peney reacted to effective enemy indirect fire outside of his barracks area. With his medic aid bag slung over his shoulder, he was the first to respond to the scene and immediately identified and triaged five international workers wounded in the attack.
“Sgt. Peney immediately conducted casualty triage and determined the most critical patient to be a man with an amputated leg,” said Fisher. “In addition to stabilizing this patient, Sgt. Peney directed the other medics on the scene to stabilize their patients and move them inside to the casualty collection point that he had established.”
Like the seasoned combat veteran and medic that he was, Peney took charge and controlled the chaos in the room.
“He issued calm and clear directives to three medics, a physician’s assistant and a physician,” said Fisher. “He triaged and organized the evacuation of all the patients based on their priority. All of the patients lived as a result of Sgt. Peney’s courage under indirect fire, his responsiveness and his expert application of trauma management.”
Peney’s last full measure of devotion was given on June 1, 2010, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
His platoon had successfully conducted a search and attack operation a couple of days earlier and secured a strongpoint for the day. Shortly after sunrise, the enemy attacked the strongpoint from three directions with an intense barrage from small arms, rocket propelled grenades and sniper fire.
During the initial volley, a team leader sustained two gunshot wounds and was critically wounded.
“Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Sgt. Peney ran through effective automatic weapons fire to get to his wounded Ranger,” said Fisher. “He was killed by enemy fire while moving under heavy fire to provide aid to the Ranger.”
“Fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession…never shall I fail my comrades,” Another phrase from the Creed all Rangers live by.
“Sgt. Peney was a fine example of what we expect a Ranger Medic to be,” said Fisher. “He not only challenged himself every day, but also his peers and the medical providers. I will miss him constantly asking medical questions, for which he had no shortage.”
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Command Sgt. Maj. reviewed the nomination packets from throughout the command. The nominations consisted of two pages of unclassified recommendations from the medics’ supervisors and endorsements from their chain of command.
Peney’s mother, Sue Peney and his wife Kristin, will accept the awards on his behalf.
“Jon was always very compassionate and curious from the start of his life to the end of his life,” said Sue Peney. “He loved being a Ranger Medic. He knew what had to be done. I know in spirit he stands by his wife and me, and most importantly the men he loved in his unit.”
On Dec. 12, 2010, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command surgeon will recognize Peney at the USASOC Army Special Operations Forces Medic Conference in Tampa, Fla.
On Dec. 14, 2010, the Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) will recognize Peney during their annual Mess Night, held in honor of fallen Special Operations Warriors.
The ceremonies will highlight his outstanding service and dedication to U.S. Army Special Operations.
“My only wish would be to have him here, when the award is being presented,” added Sue. “This is indeed an honor. But all who know 'Doc' Peney would say that he was just being 'Doc,' caring about others above himself.”
SGT Peney was born on July 1, 1987, in Marietta, Ga. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Marietta, Ga., in November 2005. He completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning and Combat Medic Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He returned to Fort Benning in June 2006 and completed the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Indoctrination Program before attending the Special Operations Combat Medic Course at Fort Bragg, N.C. Spc. Peney was then assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in November 2007.
His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Indoctrination Program, Special Operations Combat Medic Course and the U.S. Army Ranger Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Expert Field Medical Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with combat star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.