Skip to main content

Paralyzed Marine To Receive Bronze Star With Help From Exoskeleton (Video)

Photo credit: Derek Hererra

Capt. Derek Herrera with his service dog

Camp Pendleton Marine Capt. Derek Herrera will receive the Bronze Star Friday at his retirement ceremony on base. Paralyzed by a sniper's bullet, Herrera will walk to accept his medal with the aid of his exoskeleton.

Herrera explained to The Associated Press:

"I could easily go and roll up in my wheelchair, but for me it's a mental and emotional goal that I set for myself: to stand up and walk out of the Marine Corps."

According to Herrera's website, the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) Foundation helped him afford the FDA-approved Argo ReWalk ExoSkeleton.

Herrera became paralyzed on June 14, 2012 when he was shot in the spine while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The Military Times reports Herrera is receiving the Bronze Star with combat "V" for his actions that day:

Even though he was hurt, Herrera continued to coordinate the fight while he received medical care. His efforts inspired the team as they helped the wounded and fought back the enemy...

Here's video of Herrera waking with the aid of the Argo ReWalk Exo Skeleton at Camp Pendleton on Nov. 6, 2013:

Derek Herrera - Argo ReWalk ExoSkeleton Training Session 6

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.