HM1 Bernhardt stays focused on Navy

Story and photo by MC2 (SW) Mark Logico

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Benjamin Bernhardt is this week’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Warrior of the Week.

“It’s a rewarding rate to be a corpsman,” said Bernhardt, who has been in the Navy for 12 years. Assigned to Makalapa Naval Health Clinic located at JBPHH, he is the leading petty officer, serving with about 100 Sailors and civilians working at the facility.

Before being stationed in Hawaii, Bernhardt was assigned to two Marine battalions and one Army company, two of them as an individual augmentee to Iraq and Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Bernhardt was assigned at forward-operating base Ripley in Tarin Kowt working with Army Soldiers as part of the forward surgical team for the Army Special Forces. At Ripley, he provided medical care to both Soldiers and local civilians in the area.

“If you save one person, even though you might lose some, you’ve made a difference,” said Bernhardt. “I’ve had fatal accidents during a lot of our training. Being the person who steps up and being able to save that person’s life-that always makes you feel good at the end of the day.”

Bernhardt has also served at Naval Health Sewells Point in Norfolk, Va. and at Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 1 at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex. While assigned to NCHB 1, Bernhardt was able to travel to all seven continents.

“I think it was awesome,” said Bernhardt who had the opportunity to go to Antarctica while deployed with NCHB 1. “I can say I’ve been to all seven continents. Not many people can say that.”

Back at Makalapa Clinic, Bernhardt encourages his junior enlisted Sailors to stay focused on being in the Navy despite the difficulties.

“When you make that third class petty officer, everything changes,” said Bernhardt. “You start having that different outlook in the Navy. The Navy gets better.”

Bernhardt said he plans to pursue instructor duty for his next duty station.

“It might be difficult to get back-to-back shore duty, but I’ll try to go to corps school and be an instructor there,” said Bernhardt. “If I can’t do instructor duty, I’ll try a Riverine command or a Seabee battalion. When you try to make chief, they look at your diversity in your orders. I try and put a check in all the boxes.”

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Category: News