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                                       DoD Identifies Army Casualty

           The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
            Sgt. John M. Penich, 25, of Beach Park, Ill., died Oct. 16 in Karangol Village, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from indirect fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
            The incident is under investigation.

Putting everyone else first...that is how Sgt. John M. Penich is being described by those who knew him.

Penich2  Sgt. John M. Penich

John Penich never asked for anything for himself when his family sent care packages to him in Afghanistan, according to his brother Jeff.  "It was never 'I want this'.  It was always, 'What can I get for my guys?'"

Sgt. John Penich was killed in Karangol Village, Afghanistan last week in an incident still under investigation. He died of wounds suffered from "indirect fire."

The Chicago Sun-Times reports John was a 2001 graduate of Zion-Benton Township High School who enjoyed outdoor sports including mountain biking, four wheeling and playing paintball.  He was only 14 at the time of the 9/11 attacks, but was moved to join the military someday as a result.

Jeff Penich said of his brother, "He believed in fighting for his country and defending our freedom."  Jeff spoke with John just two days before his death.  Their mother, Kathleen Garross was able to spend four days with her son in July doing "mother-son" things, just before he was deployed.

Shortly  before his departure, John and his three siblings: brothers Jeff and Jim and sister, Crystal, were reunited for a going-away party, according to the Chicago Tribune.  It was the first time the four of them had been together in 14 years, said Jeff.  "Unfortunately, it was the last time."

CBS2 Chicago reported that John's family described him as a "soft-hearted, good-natured, fun man who put everyone else first and certainly lived all of his 25 years to the fullest."

Rest in peace, Sgt. Penich.


I Got the News Today (IGTNT) is a diary series intended to honor service members who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one.

Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels, MsWings, greenies, blue jersey mom, chacounne, twilight falling, moneysmith, labwitchy, joyful, roses, SisTwo, monkeybiz, mediaprof and me, JeNoCo.

Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

Originally posted to JeNoCo on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 01:23 PM PDT.

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