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Marine with Robotic Leg Walks to Receive Bronze Star
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Marine who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. The crowd of 300 Marines was silent as Capt. Derek Herrera walked. All that was heard was the faint whirring of electric motors from the device. Herrera then stood, holding onto one crutch. With his other hand, he saluted his commanding officer, who presented him the award. "Your drive and determination are great and you will continue to do great things, " Lt. Col. John J. Lynch, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, told him at Friday's ceremony. Herrera had vowed to walk at the event that also marked his retirement after 8½ years in the military, saying he wanted to leave the Marine Corps the same way he joined. He has gone from fighting on the battlefield to becoming a strong advocate for veterans.