Gladiators remember one of their own
August 19, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - Colored light from the stained-glassed windows of Fort Hood's Memorial Chapel greeted mourners as they filled it's pews to pay their respects to one of 3rd Brigade's Soldiers, Aug. 17.
Staff Sgt. Bradley Penman served with C Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.
"Although I only had him in my company for a few short months, he made an impression on me with his smile and eagerness to perform," said Capt. Frankie Edens, Penman's company commander. "All of his friends; peers, superiors and subordinates said he served in a capacity above his rank and was an example to others," he added.
Penman, a native of Punxsutawney, Pa., joined the Army July 1, 1994 and attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he earned the military occupation skill of combat engineer.
"When you met him you knew he was genuine - one of the 'good guys'," said Staff Sgt. Karl Akama.
"He was better rounded than most, but beyond being a good Soldier, and a non-commissioned officer, he was a friend. A friend who didn't place a price tag on friendship," Akama added.
Staff Sgt. Douglas Garn, said he met Penman through a mutual friend in 1998.
"Whether you knew Brad for 12 minutes or 12 years you would never forget your first experience with him. He had an innate way of relating to people," said Garn.
"His smile was contagious. You could be mad at the world and see (Brad) and he would smile and make a joke and you wouldn't be angry anymore," Garn said.
Mark Vernon, Penman's former company commander with E Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, said, "(Penman) had an outstanding effect on so many people because he was a happy soul"
After the benediction and rendering of honors, Penman's name was called during the traditional final roll call. As his name was called out, Soldiers and friends comforted one another as they wiped away tears.
Although it would be the last time they would hear his name called for accountability, it would not be the last time they would think of Penman.
As the memorial service concluded, Penman's fellow Soldiers and friends approached his photo, with rifle, boots and helmet displayed in front of the chapel, as they paid their final respects.
Penman's military awards included the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), the National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal with three Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (5th Award), Meritorious Unit Citation and Combat Action Badge.
Penman is survived by his daughter Arianna Gardiner of Leavenworth, Kan., and his parents, Maxine Penman and Robert Penman of Punxsutawney, Pa.