Article: Navy corpsman tells of saving Hennagir

Posted: September 14, 2007

Anthony Chenot, 21, is the Navy corpsman who initially saved Cpl. Raymond D. Hennagir's life on June 16 in Iraq.

Chenot was only 30 yards from Hennagir when he heard the explosion. An improvised explosive device had exploded beneath Hennagir's feet. Chenot thought shrapnel had flown by him - until he realized it had been pieces of flesh.

He ran to the downed Marines - Pfc. Scott Norris was also injured - arriving within about 30 seconds. He quickly assessed that Hennagir was in worse shape. "The ground was just soaked" with blood, the corpsman said.

In his flak jacket, Chenot carried medical supplies. Interviewed by telephone from Iraq, he said he had applied a tourniquet to one of Hennagir's legs, then to the other. Hennagir's left biceps was gone, as was much of the soft tissue on what remained of his legs and backside.

Chenot did what he called a "head to toe" assessment. He feared the elbow was fractured, and he splinted it. He was concerned that if he moved the injured Marine, a major artery in the elbow might be severed, and Hennagir couldn't withstand any more blood loss.

Chenot saw four fingers on Hennagir's left hand had been blasted off, but he wasn't too worried about blood loss from that. The major artery in the hand, he said, stops mid-palm.

"You can't bleed to death from amputated fingers," he said.

He bandaged what he could, applied pressure to stop the bleeding. The tourniquets had slowed the loss of blood from the legs to a trickle, he said.

The corpsman was working largely in the dark, with only the supplies he carried, and he tended to the two Marines for about 45 minutes until a helicopter arrived. He praised the Marines who helped him that night.

Chenot, from Las Vegas, has been a corpsman for 21/2 years, and in Iraq since the beginning of 2007.

"A high school graduate made the difference," Lt. Col Mark Brennan, Hennagir's battalion commander, said of Chenot. "He's the one who got him off the battlefield alive." 


Contact staff writer Michael Vitez at 215-854-5639 or mvitez@phillynews.com.

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