CMC visits local naval hospital to reenlist Marine
By Lance Cpl. James Green
| | September 22, 2006
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
The Commandant of the Marine Corps came to visit the injured Marines who are currently patients at Naval Medical Center San Diego on Sept. 15.
A brief visit was not the only event on his schedule as he arrived at NMCSD. Gen. Michael Hagee was there to reenlist Cpl. Nick Beberniss, the Marine Corps’ first Permanent Limited Duty Marine.
During a tour in Baghdad, Iraq, Beberniss, a Westminster, Colo. native, served as a mortar man with 2nd Marines, 7th division. As he was setting up a vehicle check point, he was struck with an enemy double-stack anti-tank mine on July 21, 2004, which was supposed to have left him paralyzed.
“The doctors told me I would never walk again. I even thought I would never walk again,” said Beberniss.
With four broken vertebrae, Beberniss laid in a hospital bed with a collapsed spine and broken dreams. With the thought of never walking again, the Marine believed his time with the Marine Corps was over.
Now after two years of lying in a hospital, against all odds, Beberniss decided to reenlist even under the physical circumstances of not being able to run or lift heavy objects.
Despite Beberniss’ miraculous recovery, surprising himself and the doctors who treated his injuries, he reenlisted as a small arms technician because he was not able to perform his regular duties in the infantry.
Beberniss said he looks at his reenlistment as an opportunity to give to the Marine Corps, and not for the Corps to take from him.
The actions performed by Beberniss spoke to the other injured Marines by giving them the inspiration and reassurance that they too can still contribute to the Marines regardless of their injuries.
“He inspires all of us injured Marines,” said Pfc. Jeffrey P. Huben, training clerk, Headquarters and Service Battalion here. “I got to (NMCSD) shortly after he did, and to see him at his low points all the way to reenlistment is truly motivating.”
At the end of the reenlistment ceremony, Beberniss was left with a new beginning in the Marine Corps as a PLD Marine. As the only permanent limited duty Marine to reenlist and remain on limited duty throughout his career, he left the injured Marines inspired.