BY CAPT. OZZIE SANTIAGO SMITH III – NORTH SHORE, Hawaii – There are individuals who run marathon events for personal challenge and competition. This thought process does not apply to Staff Sgt. Marc Dibernardo, E. Company, 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion (AHB), 25th Aviation Regiment, “Diamond Head,” 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), who races to raise money for the support and recovery of wounded warriors (WW).
Dibernardo’s participation in the North Shore Marathon (NSM) was in memory of fellow Soldiers, who were wounded or killed in combat. He was sponsored by Team Red, White, and Blue (RWB), a non-profit organization that aids WWs by sponsoring extreme athletes.
RWB creates a unique support system for veterans, families and friends while recovering from injuries received from combat operations. The donation raised by RWB is used to fund the reintegration of WWs back into the civilian world after being released from the hospital or military.
After crossing the finish line Dibernardo, was unofficially informed he finished the course in 3:49:42 breaking the previous world record of 3:54:49 for an individual running a marathon in a gas mask.
His immediate thoughts were of ten friends he lost in Afghanistan last November, due to wounds sustained in battle and Soldiers recovering from their wounds back at home. Dibernardo said “The fallen and wounded warriors are the heroes, I’m not a hero, they’re heroes.”
Dibernardo, who has been running in a gas mask since 2003, highlighted the positive impact the support from fellow Soldiers and his chain of command had in preparation for this event.
“I’m really proud of him it’s incredible what he is doing running a marathon and in a gas mask. We let him do his on training during physical fitness time,” said Captain Lindsay Maples, E. Company, commander, 2-25th AVN, 25th CAB.
Dibernardo’s ultimate goal is to keep the country informed and educated about the efforts and sacrifices being made by our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors while on deployments.
“This is the best way I know how to let the world know about the sacrifices being made by our Soldiers,” said Dibernardo.
In addition to his RWB sponsors, members from 2-25th AVN, 25th CAB chain of command, rallied behind him to complete the NSM in world record timing.
“I’m very proud of him, it’s an outstanding thing what he’s doing and a great reason why he’s doing it’” said 1st Sgt. Henry Wood, former command sergeant major, 2-25th AVN, 25th CAB.
Ozzie Santiago Smith III is with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, Photos by CAPT. Michael Linnington, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Unit Public Affairs Representative