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Co. H Marine graduates after injury hinders training

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (Aug. 11, 2006) -- Despite an injury one-third of the way through boot camp the first time, a Company H recruit, who was set back in training, reunited with the same company after an entire cycle of recruits graduated.


Aug. 11, 2006; Submitted on: 08/11/2006 03:42:03 PM
Story ID#: 200681115423
By Pfc. Charlie Chavez, MCRD San Diego

Private First Class Justin D. C. Ninde, Platoon 2003, from Apple Valley, Calif., left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on Jan. 23, after his grandfather, who was his inspiration to join, passed away April 21, 2005.

His grandfather was a medic in the Army and had triggered his interest, from the age of 13, in the armed services after sharing his military experiences. After he passed away, Ninde focused on the Marine Corps as the most challenging service, and enlisted.

Four weeks into his training, Ninde developed a hernia – the inside layer of the abdominal wall weakened causing a bulge or tear and a balloon-type sac, which can contain a loop of the intestine or abdominal tissue causing pains and problems – that required medical attention and resulted in surgery.

Dropped from Co. H and placed under the care of Navy medical doctors at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Ninde underwent surgery on March 23. It was a success and he returned to training with the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon on the depot.

During the healing time with MRP, Ninde encountered mental obstacles about finishing training and the road to successfully completing Marine Corps boot camp.

“There were times when I thought that I wasn’t going to make it through,” said Ninde. “The doctors would ask if I wanted to still be a Marine or if I wanted to go home. I just couldn’t bring myself to quit.”

As a pillar of strength, Ninde relied on his family to encourage his spirit and keep him from allowing himself to quit.

Ninde remained positive about recruit training until the end of the first four weeks and toward the time of his injury.

“I helped him as much as I could with positive reinforcement and scriptures,” said Christine L. Ninde, mother. “I just put my faith in the Lord and prayed for him.”

Recruits who are injured can be in MRP for a long time. The Marine Corps provides them with rehabilitation, physical therapy and help as long as they maintain the physical standards expected for a full recovery. For Ninde, he spent three months in MRP.

The recruits who still want to train after injuries are the reason drill instructors at MRP are there, said Staff Sgt. Roger L. Escamilla, drill instructor, Physical Conditioning Platoon.

Brought back into training June 16 with Co. H, Ninde was reunited with his previous company and a drill instructor from his previous platoon, whom he requested to be placed under.

“I told him that we would look out for him and that he was going to graduate with Co. H,” said Sgt. Orlando E. Castillo, drill instructor.

Due to his physical condition, Ninde experienced problems during the hikes on the field portion of boot camp. Not allowing him to give up, Castillo reassured him and helped him.

After Ninde completed the final obstacle of field training, an infamous steep hill known as the “Reaper,” his struggle to continue training was validated upon his accomplishment.

“At the top of that hill I knew that this is where I was supposed to be,” said Ninde. “I thought to myself, ‘Why would I have ever wanted to quit?’”

Ninde’s dedication to the Marine Corps is exemplified by his never-quit attitude and his goals in the Corps to be an aviation mechanic. He will move on and continue to work hard to accomplish his goals, added Castillo.

With an injury behind him and the rest of his Marine Corps career ahead, Ninde has started his journey having earned the title Marine.