Sgt. Jonathan Peney will never be forgotten.
His name and story were memorialized Friday during a Ranger Training Brigade dedication ceremony for the Peney Aid Station. Located at Camp Rogers on Harmony Church, the renovated building will provide first-response care for ill or injured Soldiers.
“This aid station says it all about who Jon Peney was in his final moments,” said Capt. Andrew Fisher, Peney’s supervisor, who cared for him after he was fatally wounded in the summer of 2010, one month before his 23rd birthday. “He was that Ranger that when he saw a fellow brother wounded, he ran to his aid with complete disregard for his safety. This structure will serve as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made that day. He will always be missed, but his name, his story and what he stood for will stand here for everyone to know. From this day forward, all who enter this building will read it and know Jon’s story and find strength, motivation and determination to carry on and complete their own mission.”
Peney, a combat medic with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, left for his fourth deployment to Afghanistan just days after graduating from Ranger School. The Marietta, Ga., native was known for going “above and beyond” to take care of his Rangers, said Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Smith, RTB’s command sergeant major.
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“On 1 June 2010, that’s just what he was doing, taking care of the boys,” Smith said. “On a Ranger objective in the middle of the night in a country far away, a Ranger assaulter was shot on a rooftop. Without hesitation, Sgt. Peney ran a ladder. With a hail of bullets pinging all around, he put his head down and he climbed that ladder in an attempt to get to one of his boys. An eyewitness of Jon’s actions that night told me just a couple days ago, ‘Sergeant Major, that was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do.’”
Smith, who had been Peney’s sergeant major more than once, said he felt privileged to place the medic’s name in bronze on the aid station.
“It seems fitting that it’s the weekend of the 10th anniversary of that tragic day in September that changed the entire world,” he said.
Peney’s mother, Sue, who attended the ceremony along with his wife, Kristin, remembers where she was during the events of 9/11 — homeschooling her only child, 14 at the time.
“We saw the planes go into the towers,” Sue said. “That was his deciding factor to become a Soldier. He wanted to protect his mom, his family and America.”
Of her son’s sacrifice, Sue said “he would have done it again.”
Sue said she appreciated the ceremony and the aid station that bears Peney’s name.
“It’s going to be a place for me to be able to touch,” she said. “That’s also why I go to Ranger graduations because it’s in honor of Jon. I gain strength from the Rangers. I’m known as Mama Peney, and I give hugs because Jon always used to hug me. And I miss his hugs.”
Peney enlisted in 2005. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Fisher said not a day went by that he didn’t think of Peney.
“It is those left behind who truly know the weight of knowing of hero,” he said. “All of us can learn from men like Jon Peney. The dedication and duty, the sacrifices he made, his love of family, the respect and admiration he had for the Rangers are immeasurable. America is great for many reasons, but most importantly because of men like Jon Peney. Jon led the way.”