Bowman soldier honoredAfter serving in the North Dakota National Guard for 10 years, a Bowman man received one of the state’s highest awards on Friday.
After serving in the North Dakota National Guard for 10 years, a Bowman man received one of the state’s highest awards on Friday.
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wanner, a Special Forces medic for an Ohio-based Battalion, was presented with the state’s second-highest commendation award, the North Dakota Legion of Merit award for “extraordinary disregard for his own personal safety while engaging the enemy to save the life of a fellow soldier,” according to an NDNG press release.
“It’s quite an honor to receive it,” Wanner said.
But this isn’t Wanner’s first award.
The award follows Wanner’s receipt of the armed forces’ third-highest decoration, the Silver Star.
He vividly recalls the moment during his service that earned him such accolades.
On May 31, during a hit Wanner and his unit were carrying out on a Taliban commander in Afghanistan, his friend and colleague Sgt. 1st Class Sean Clifton was shot four times.
Three shots struck his chest place, helmet and his left wrist, shattering his radius and rendering his arm useless, and a fourth shot went laterally through his left pelvis.
While Wanner worked to stabilize Clifton’s injuries, he was being fired at from all directions.
Wanner traveled with the MedEvac and Clifton to a hospital in Germany where Wanner stayed with his fellow soldier through an operation.
“His duty performance serves as a testimony to his unselfish commitment to his fellow soldiers and his dedication to the defense of this nation,” said Col. Michael Wobbema, NDNG deputy director of the joint staff, according to a press release. “Sgt. 1st Class Wanner’s 20 years of service to this nation and the Army National Guard reflect great credit upon himself, as well as the states of North Dakota and Ohio.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Peterson, also of Bowman, said since 9/11, the Silver Star has only been given to 24 soldiers nationwide among the 600,000 to 700,000 members of the U.S. Army.
Only four of those soldiers were still alive when they received it, two of which are from southwest North Dakota.
Along with Wanner, 1st Sgt. Kevin Remington of Richardton also received the Silver Star.
Peterson, who employs Wanner and has worked with him for about two and a half years, said Wanner has an immense work ethic.
“He’s a go-getter, a self-starter,” Peterson said. “I wish I had 20 of him. He is a very humble man. All these accolades and stuff, you wouldn’t know it by talking with him. Just hoping we can get him back to the North Dakota Guard someday.”
And humble he is.
“All the accolades don’t just go to myself,” Wanner said. “I’d say our whole team performed as they’re supposed to, everybody in the right place, everybody did their job.”
To view a video of Clifton's acknowledgement of Wanner's actions during the Silver Star ceremony, visit www.youtube.com/NDNationalGuard.