Soldiers Honor Fallen Hero Combat Medic
(July 13, 2011)
PROVINCE, Afghanistan (7/11/2011) – U.S. Army Spc. Nicholas
P. Bernier's leaders and comrades gathered to honor him as a
positive-thinker and a true warrior, hero and friend, on
Forward Operating Base Altimur, July 4.|
Bernier was a
21-year-old combat medic from East Kingston, N.H., assigned
to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th
Brigade Combat Team,10th Mountain Division. In the presence
of his family, Bernier died June 28 in Landstuhl, Germany,
from wounds suffered during an enemy engagement at Combat
Outpost Kherwar in Logar province, Afghanistan, June 22.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Ramsey, battalion
commander of 2nd Bn., 30th Inf.'s Task force Storm, said
Bernier died augmenting force protection and providing
medical attention to other wounded soldiers.
an American hero, and we will remember him that way,” said
Ramsey, a Greenville, N.C., native. “Nick was an outstanding
Soldier, a great teammate and a loving son. He will be
missed by all those who served with and cared for him.”
Ramsey said Bernier was an extremely competent and
natural-born leader who was mature beyond his years and
fulfilled his responsibilities in a quiet and professional
manner. Bernier always succeeded at every task laid before
him, he said.
“Nick was the epitome of a combat
medic. He was handpicked by his leadership to perform these
duties in Kherwar,” said Ramsey. “The forces needed someone
who was competent, a self-starter, able to operate with
minimal guidance, could take on other roles and
responsibilities as directed and able to operate in chaotic
situations without it affecting his performance.”
A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of
U.S. Army Spc. Nicholas P. Bernier of East Kingston,
N.H., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., July 3, 2011.
Bernier was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th
Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th
Mountain Division, based at Fort Polk, La. Photo by
U.S. Air Force Roland Balik
Ramsey said Bernier was the obvious choice for the job.
Bernier always went above and beyond the call of duty,
rarely needed to be told what to do and was not only
dedicated to his job but also was committed to excellence,
“Our unit motto is ‘Our Country, Not
Ourselves.' I think that is probably the best motto in the
Army,” said Ramsey. “Nicholas Bernier epitomized our unit
motto, and this was is not something that he learned in the
Army; it was from the soldiers he served with ... good
upbringing and his desire to make a difference.”
Army Capt. Bixler Benson, commander of TF Storm's
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, said Bernier did not
question or complain when he received the news about going
to Kherwar to support and provide security for forces there.
He said Bernier was a soldier who not only understood but
also embraced the “Warrior Ethos.”
“Spc. Nicholas P.
Bernier has earned the honor, and our pride, as a warrior,
said Benson, a Fort Wayne, Ind., native. “His name is added
to the ranks of our heroes who have made the ultimate
sacrifice. He has sacrificed his life defending his brothers
and sisters who stood at his side. He is my hero.
“Nicholas was a medic by duty, but he was a warrior first,”
Benson said he will always
remember Bernier's humor and positive attitude. He recalled
a special moment when Bernier performed an impromptu, a
cappella rendition of a song entitled “The Safety Dance”
during a mission readiness exercise.
“It was complete
with a dance routine. It had the entire aid station [and me]
rolling on the floor with laugher,” said Benson. “This was
exactly what we needed .... Nicholas always knew what we
needed. He always gave every mission task everything he had.
“Today we honor Nicholas Bernier's life. We thank him
for standing next to us, and we grieve for our brother and
friend,” continued Benson. “Well done. Be thou at rest -
‘Our Country, Not Ourselves.'”
U.S. Army Sgt.
Carleton Thrall of Crown Point, Ind. is a medical treatment
non-commissioned officer for TF Storm's HHC who is attached
to Company C. Thrall said he met Bernier – or Bernie, as
Thrall and other comrades affectionately called him – at
Fort Sam Houston, Texas, before Bernier volunteered for an
assignment with 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div., at Fort Polk, La.
“I thought to myself, I need to find out why on
God's Earth this kid would want to leave Ft. Sam Houston and
go to Ft. Polk,” said Thrall. “His response: ‘I don't want
to ride around in an armored coffin with the cavalry, and I
like my knees the way they are, so the Airborne is out; and,
I'd like to see the infantry.'”
Thrall said Bernier
proved to be one of the hardest working soldiers he ever
worked with and is the single most positive man he has ever
met. Bernier never had a bad thing to say about anyone and
could not even conceive of making fun of people, he said.
Bernier had a lot of friends in his platoon because he knew
how to be a friend and how to listen, and people listened to
him, he said.
“I miss you,” Thrall said, speaking to
Bernier. “I am grateful you came downrange with me. You knew
what you were getting into, and you did well. I am forever
U.S. Army Spc. Sean Monk, a combat medic from
Buffalo, N.Y., assigned to TF Storm's Company D, said
Bernier was a good soldier who would do anything asked of
him without any complaints. Monk explained the significance
he assigns to July 4, calling it “Our country's most revered
holiday,” and how it applies to honor his fallen friend.
“Today is the day we remember those who fought for the
freedoms and independence that are forged in every
American,” said Monk. “Today we gather as a family, brothers
and sisters in arms, to honor one of our own who served,
fought and gave his life so others may have those same
liberties and freedoms.
“I am honored to stand here
today; and, on behalf of all the junior medics, I would like
to express how deeply Bernie will be missed,” Monk
continued. “He was a friend, a brother and, most of all, an
Bernier's awards and decorations
include the following: Bronze Star
Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Army Achievement Medal;
Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal;
Afghan Campaign Medal, with campaign star; Global War on
Terror Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service
Ribbon; NATO Medal; Combat Medical Badge; Driver and
Mechanic Badge, Wheeled Vehicles.
By Combined Joint Task Force 1 Afghan
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