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Bronze Star awarded to corpsman for heroism in Afghanistan

BREMERTON — Running through a field full of land mines in Afghanistan to save the lives of soldiers earned a corpsman from Naval Hospital Bremerton one of the military’s highest honors, the Bronze Star.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd class Michael Marchante doesn’t consider himself a hero, but the Navy says that’s exactly what he is.

marchanteIn July 2011, Marchante rushed to the aid of a soldier who stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan that nearly killed him.

“The sound of the explosions and the fact that we had soldiers out there, I had to get out there. I was the only corpsman and it was my job to get out there and help,” Marchante said. “It was a known IED field but in that instance I just ran to where I needed to be. I didn’t think about the IEDs, I didn’t think about the gunfire. I don’t think you really can think that way when you’re in Afghanistan,” said Marchante.

He credits his training for keeping his cool in the war zone.

“There’s corpsmen out there doing this every day,” added Marchante. “Sometimes they don’t get recognized for it but there are Army soldiers, medics out there risking their lives in Afghanistan every day.”

The Bronze Star is awarded for heroic actions on the battlefield.  Marchante’s daughter already thinks daddy’s a hero even if daddy doesn’t think so.

Officials say Marchante likely saved the lives of nearly two-dozen soldiers injured during combat. But he remains humble, saying it’s all part of the job.

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