By Steve Van Der Werff, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Combat wounded and second year competitor retired Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (FMF) Nate Hamilton grew up in Jamestown, Virginia and joined the Navy in 2007. After completing Field Medical Service School he served as a fleet marine force corpsman with the Marines.
On Nov. 17, 2010, while conducting a foot patrol in Afghanistan, a powerful improvised explosive device exploded beneath a vehicle nearby. He woke up moments later on the ground. Not taking into account for his personal safety or sustained injuries, he immediately sprang into action to assist his Marine “brothers” in the wrecked vehicle.
He was then medically evacuated to Camp Bastion, the main British military base in Afghanistan, and diagnosed with a severe concussion, a ruptured tympanic membrane and loss of hearing. He was medically retired from the Navy three years later in November 2013.
Hamilton is currently a student living in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. When he first considered wearing the cloth of our nation he thought he wanted to be a Marine, but being a Navy Corpsman was his calling. It was according to Hamilton, the best fit because it encompassed infantry and medicine.
Day to day he stays active with his constant companion, his dog Otis, who accompanies him swimming, paddle boarding, walking, and mowing the yard. When time permits he gets in a round of golf, pointing out that his pal Otis doesn’t hit the links.
When not feeling well, Hamilton reminds himself that it could always be worse.
Hamilton competed in shooting, recumbent cycling, and seated volleyball. He would play more sports if it weren’t for medical restrictions but he continues to strive towards mental and physical recovery despite the obstacles.
He said the highlight of joining Team Navy was meeting other teammates with many of the same challenges. He is especially proud to be part of a team again and represent Team Navy and Navy Medicine.
Hamilton understands that many others in his similar situation wouldn’t have the will to train and compete, but what drives him is remembering the fallen. He competes for the many friends who will never have the opportunity to play or compete in sports again.