Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Survivor shares his story of resilience

    Survivor shares his story of resilience

    Photo By Staff Sgt. LAUSANNE KINDER | Capt. David Berling, retired, spoke to members of the 944th Medical Squadron about his...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. LAUSANNE KINDER 

    944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. - Retired Capt. David Berling, spoke to members of the 944th Medical Squadron about his personal experiences, perseverance, and resilience with hopes of motivating the audience, during the August Unit Training Assembly.

    Berling was involved in a private plane crash in 2007, four years after commissioning as a contracting officer in the Air Force.

    "The plane crashed nose first into a field about a mile short of the [Hawthorne Municipal] airport and hit the ground at approximately 150 miles per hour," said Berling. "The plane came to rest upside down, which was a blessing because gravity kept my blood in my core and kept me from bleeding out through my leg wounds."

    He suffered multiple injuries requiring two above the knee amputations, 28 surgeries, and was a hospital inpatient for more than two months.

    Having a "type-A personality," Berling had always had a "do it by myself attitude" and "I can accomplish anything on my own" mantra, he struggled with admitting he needed help.

    "I felt I had failed professionally, personally, and within my marriage," said Berling.

    Trying to cope with variables out of his control, he was determined to keep fighting.

    "I was determined to walk and would have endured anything to make that possible," said Berling.

    He also spoke with his wife, Missy about their marriage.

    "Missy and I had a heart-to-heart… [we] decided together to put the past behind us and rebuild our marriage," said Berling. "…I believe that due to a higher power, I was given a second chance at life and I was determined not to screw it up."

    Though he endured so many hardships, he lauded his support system.

    "When I was finally discharged [from the hospital] … Missy and I went back to see the personnel from the [Intensive Care Unit]," said Berling. "They didn't recognize me at first but after I said 'Air Force, plane crash,' they said, 'oh yeah, the big swollen guy. You look great.' … it was nice to show people who had been responsible for keeping me alive just two months prior, how far I'd come."

    Following his full recovery, Berling and his wife visited and thanked all the individuals who played a part in his recovery.

    "You can't control what happens in the world around you," Berling said while imparting life lessons he wished someone had shared with him before he learned them on his own. "You can only control how you react to it."

    Although, he was eventually medically retired from active duty in 2009, Berling is currently working on recertifying his private pilot's license and training on his hand-cycle in hopes of being named to the U.S. Paralympic Team.

    Berling also co-authored the national award-winning book, Just Living the Dream, which recalls the family's perspective of Berling's journey through the crash and recovery.

    "There was no way I could fail with the support I was given," said Berling. "…human spirit is often much stronger than we think and we honestly don't know what we can overcome until we're put in a situation with no way out but through."



    Date Taken: 08.07.2015
    Date Posted: 08.24.2015 15:03
    Story ID: 174067
    Location: LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ, US 
    Hometown: GLENDALE, AZ, US
    Hometown: PEORIA, AZ, US

    Web Views: 170
    Downloads: 0