A U.S. Marine who wanted to remain on active duty after a sniper’s bullet in Afghanistan left him paralyzed plans to walk across a military stage with robotic leg braces to receive the Bronze Star.
Captain Derek Herrera is to be honored on November 21 at Camp Pendleton near San Diego in a ceremony that also marks his retirement from the U.S. military.
Herrera was struck by sniper fire in June 2012 while leading his unit in southern Afghanistan, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
He is the first American to purchase the so-called “ReWalk” system that functions as an exoskeleton for people with spinal-cord injuries.
It has motorized leg braces, a backpack with a computer and batteries, and a wrist-mounted controller and crutches for balance.
The U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved the device for home use in June 2014.