A Gardnerville physician who volunteered for duty in Iraq last year as a flight surgeon has been honored for his valor in treating a wounded Marine in a minefield.
Dr. Thom Merry, who temporarily left his general practice for eight months before returning home in October, will receive a Bronze Star with combat "V" for his actions on July 2 near near Karbala in southern Iraq.
Merry, a Navy captain on loan to the Marines, entered a pit laden with numerous explosive devices to treat the seriously wounded 25-year-old Marine.
"Without hesitation, Capt. Merry positioned himself near the casualty, placing his feet within inches of the deadly devices," according to the military report.
With the help of other military personnel, the wounded soldier was taken to a helicopter and flown to a hospital.
The Marine nearly died after losing a hand and all but two fingers of the other hand. He also suffered major leg injuries.
"(Merry) went into a minefield without regard for his own safety to save a life," said Lt. Col. James T. "Tim" Cole, who served with him in Iraq. "That tells you all you need to know about Thom Merry."
Merry, 53, who's married with two grown children, said he didn't think about the danger he and others faced.
"Sometimes you just have to tell yourself nothing's going to happen so you can get through your work," he said.