BEACH PARK, IL, US
SGT, CO B, 1ST BN, 26TH INF, 3 BDE COMBAT TEAM, FORT HOOD, TX
10/16/2008, KARANGOL VILLAGE, AFGHANISTAN
Army Sergeant John M. Penich died October 16, 2008 serving During Operation Enduring Freedom.
The twenty-five year old soldier from Beach Park, Illinois was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He died of wounds sustained from indirect fire during combat operations in Karangol Village, Afghanistan.
After witnessing the 2001 terror attacks, John M. Penich told his family he wanted to serve his country. But his career took a detour as he managed a hotel, a banquet hall and then a nightclub before enlisting. His brother remembers that he bounced back to his calling after these other work opportunities. Those who knew Sergeant Penich knew that he had no regrets about joining the Army.
John Penich enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting, mountain biking, riding four-wheelers and Harleys, and playing paintball. He enjoyed traveling overseas and taking motorcycle trips. John put everyone before himself. He loved the men with whom he served and would ask that family and friends sending him care packages include items for his fellow soldiers. He would ask not for himself, but “what can I get for my guys?” He was a proud solider and a loving and selfless man. He was highly decorated, including Solider of the Year 2007 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry, Bronze Star with Valor and Single Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge and had been recommended for the Silver Star. Sgt. John Penich lived his life to the fullest. He also graduated with honors from Zion-Benton Township High School, in 2001.
John Penich is survived by his mother, his stepfather, his father, and his stepmother, many nieces and nephews; and he continues to be remembered each year with the annual John M. Penich Memorial Poker Run. All proceeds from this event go to the Sergeant John M. Penich Memorial Inc. to “Support Our Troops Away and At Home”. The “run” is open to all vehicles, not just motorcycles.